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tlhat he wears a business suit of mixed itweed, an old-
fashioned collar and stock and, at this precise moment,
a very disturbed expression.

Opposite to him, the only figure in the room, is
Mrs. Van Steuben, a portly lady some five years young-
er, clad in a gorgeous morning gown and having on her
fat fingers, even at this early hour of the day, a very
large assortment of rings that cost a great deal of
money and look as if they were worth it.

"I really think, the richer you get, the stingier you
grow," was the remark which caused the expression on
her husband's face just referred to. "With all your
money, you'd like to have your only daughter return
in a holoku and a fifty cent straw hat. She's been
three years now at that school in California and she's
got to look decent when she comes off the 'Australia.'
You may as well make up your mind to it, first as

"All right, my dear, have your way," was the feeble
response. "Cover the child with silks and jewels till
there's nothing left of the little darling I used to know.
Teach her to look down on the girls she raced with
along the beach at Waikiki. Tell her her father is an
old-fashioned fellow she should be ashamed of, since
her mother has got her head full of high notions. Per-
haps," he added, "you can make people forget that I
came here as a stowaway on a schooner, that youf


mother was a Portuguese immigrant, and that we were
married on a hundred dollars a month. Of course
they'll do it if you hold your ohin high enough."

Mrs. Van Steuben utters an exclamation of im-
patience. It was a disagreeable habit of her husband,
whenever he "got riled," to bring up the fact that they
were once in a much "lower grade of society."

"What is the use of your having made four or five
million dollars if your child is not to have some ad-
vantage from it?" she demanded, with flushed face.

"I don't know," was the sharp retort. "I didn't mean
to, I'm sure. I remember, when we had been married
a year, and Amy came, our one ambition was to own a
little house on a leased bit of land 'something that
would cost, with the furniture, perhaps a couple of
thousand. How we used to talk about it in the even-
ings, when I came home from work! You thought
you'd be 'perfectly happy' if we could ever accomplish
that wonderful thing. Well, we did it, and I don't
know as you're any happier now than you were then.
I'm sure I'm not. I wish I'd never bought a share of
sugar stock. That's what's made all the trouble."

It was idle to talk with a man who could advance
such views as these and Mrs. Van Steuben returned
wearily to the main question.

"I want ten thousand dollars to go to San Francisco
with," she said. "You may as well give me the money
first as last."

"I suppose so," he sighed, "When are you going?"

"Next week. I've got to be there early to see about
Amy's graduation dress and attend to lots of little


things. She's the ridiest girl at that school and has
got to make a decent show. You know you don't want
her to look like a fright and you only talk for the sake
of it. You'll be as pleased as anyone, when she conies
home, to have the Waterman's and the Millinhams
and the Stookses find her looking so well and perhaps
a little better than any of their own tribe."

Mr. Van Steuben went silently to his desk and drew
out his cheque-book. Slowly and carefully he wrote
the cheque demanded, filling in the ciphers with many
a suppressed groan. He did not care at all for the
money he was honest in the wish he had expressed
that Fortune had been less lavish in her gifts to him.
The oppressive thought in his mind was that this in-
strument would be used to help destroy what was left
of the sweet, lovable, little girl who had climbed on his
knees and called him "Papa."

For three years he had not seen his idol, though he
exchanged weekly letters with her. He could not bear
the sea. His experience on the schooner in which
he rounded the Horn had given him a dread of the
ocean that time did not lessen. That voyage had been
for him one long horror and the smell of a bit of tarred
rope brought fresh qualms to his stomach after nearly
forty years.

He had hidden himself on board the craft at Boston,
with a boy's idea that he wanted to be a sailor, and had
been given the usual experience of a detected stowa-
way. Arriving at Honolulu he managed to escape
and hid in the hut of a friendly islander till the hate-
ful sails of the schooner were out of sight. Then,


from the lowest of positions, he had crept upwards, un-
til he was now justly reckoned among the richest half
dozen residents.

1 hough the comfortable steamers of many lines
ply between the island and his native country, he could
never bring himself to take passage in one of them.
When his business interests made it imperative that he
visit the other islands in the group he suffered all he felt
he could endure, although the trips only occupied a
few hours. His daughter, deeply loved as she was,
seemed while in California in a land almost as inac-
cessible as the moon, from his standpoint. He could
only await her return.

Amy's letters had as yet given no indication that she
had experienced any serious change. She still began
with "My Darling Popsie" and closed with "Yours de-
votedly." Still the father had hours of fear lest the
little girl who had twined around his heartstrings
wpuld ultimately be replaced by a fashionable young
lady, who would not, to his mind, fill her place at all.
He had listened, pained, to some of her mother's care-
ful instructions. Amy had been told. never to forget
for one instant that she was the daughter of a million-
aire. She was urged to imitate carefully the manners
of the young ladies with whom she would be brought
in contact. In short, she was directed by Mrs. Van
Steuben to repress all naturalness and eliminate as
fast as possible the unaffected ways she had learned
in her happy childhood, before the great rise in
sugar stocks gave her the position of an "heiress."

All this went sadly through the father's mind, as


he filled out the dieque for which his wife was wait-

"We shall never feel the same way about this mat-
er," he remarked, as he handed her the piece of paper.
"I only hope you'll leave a little of the natural girl in
Amy. Judge by her latest photograph she is pretty
enough without being decked out in all the finery you
can buy. You've begun," he continued with a sigh,
"and I suppose you'll have to finish, but I wish you
would give her time to enjoy her girlhood before you
push her into that 'fashionable swim' you're always
talking about."

The lady uttered another groan.

"You'd like to see her running barefooted along the
beach at Waikiki again, I suppose," she exclaimed,

"Wouldn't I, though !" murmured her husband, clos-
ing his eyes reminiscently. "In that light print dress
she used to wear, with her hat hanging down her back
by its red ribbons and her hair blowing in the wind !
I used to looked at her and say God never made any-
thing else so sweet." He turned toward his wife en-
treatingly. "Don't utterly spoil her, Gusty."

If there was anything that Mrs. Van hated
more than another it was having her husband shorten
her name of Augusta to this affectionate diminutive.
It was all right enough when he came a^courting to her
father's lowly cottage, but the time when it pleased
her ears was long past. It did not fit with her new
rvealth and dignities.

"You talk as if I didn't have as much interest in


Amy as you," she answered, peevishly. "And yet
you'd have left her here in Honolulu, to get no educa-
tion beyond a term in Punahou and a few piano les-
sons ; and for all of you she might marry a plantation

Mr. Van Steuben blinked at this remark.

"Marry? Amy marry?" he repeated, half blindly.
He had never thought of his daughter in that con-

"Of course she'll marry ! Do you want her to be an
old maid? Now that she's somebody, she can get a
husband -worth having. I really think you'd be satis-
fied to have her marry a clerk at Hackfeldt's."

"Like I was When you thought me a pretty good
catch ?" he asked, desperately.

Whenever Mrs. Van got excited she was quite apt
to forget the delicacies of language which had come
to her late in life.

"I guess you was as warm to get me as I was to get
you. Don't be silly, Abel. You know you'd be will-
ing as anybody to have a great man's son in your fami-
ly, when the right time comes."

"A great man's son ! " He wandered what was the
extent of this woman's ambition.

"Neither of us have any family to brag of, Gusty,"
he replied, "and great men's sorts tihink of such things
when they get spliced. My father was a Dutch imi-
grant and your mother a Portuguese woman whose
father came out here as a laborer."

The wife began to rub her eyes wMi her handker-
ehrif. Allusions to her humble ancestry always annoy-


ed her and Mr. Van Steuben was needlessly brutal
this time, she thought.

"I pity the poor child, with such a father," she
sobbed, "Nobody will think of these things, now you've
got your money, unless you force it on 'em. Half the
big families in New York came from Dutch settlers
men who landed with packs on their backs. I've heard
that a Congressman from Massachusetts is descended
from a French baby rescued from a stranded vessel
and brought up in the poorhouse, My mother used to
say her folks were big people in Europe before her
father lost his property, I'm going to make a lady of
Amy in spite of you, so there ! With the money she'll
have when you

"When I'm dead, eh ? Spit it out ! "

"You don't expect to be an exception to the rule,
do you? I say, with Amy's fortune she can get the
kind of husband you'd want, for your daughter if you
had the least speck of fatherly feeling in your heart."

"You're looking for a duke or something of that sort,
I suppose ?" he said, it being the most sarcastic idea he
could think of,

"Well, I don't think a duke would be any toe good
for her! A duke or a markee or a count," replied
the lady, stoutly, "Vanderbilt's daughter married a
duke and he came of a Dutch family as well as you."

"Vanderbilt had a hundred millions ! " retorted the
husband, overcome at the discovery that his wife was
really speaking in a serious vein.

"And you've got five and growing richer every day.
There's only Billy and Amy to share &''


Mr. Van Steuben uttered a deep sigh.

"I wish to the Lord I hadn't fifty thousand," he said,
earnestly. "If it's going to put you into any such race
as this my money will be simply a curse, Well, go
after Amy and bring her home; we'll see if the child
has got any more sense than her mother.

"Whew ! " "he added, after a pause, during which
his wife had left the room. "Half Dutch and half Dagc
and looking for a Duke ! Gora'mighty ! "



MARCUS Lindes had 'his way at last. From the day
when Peter Meyer hurled his insinuations back in his
face he determined there should be no doubt about that,
He played with his friend as a sportsman does with a
fish that has been indiscreet enough to nibble at his
hook. He let Peter have all the line he wanted for a
time and then slowly but surely wound up his reel.

Carl might be just the sort of young man his "uncle"
believed him very likely he was, he repeated over and
over: in that case it would not only do no harm to
prove it, but 'Meyer would feel all the better when tihe
last trace of doubt was removed.

And thus it came to pass that the adopted parent
was beguiled into putting Carl to a test which he had
pronounced "mean, contemptible and tricky/' but of
which he had never quite relinquished the idea, under
the shrewd manipulation of its keen proposer.

When Carl was told that Mr. Meyer was going to
take a journey without him he was surprised, for he
had come to think himself indispensable on such oc-
casions. He was not, however, in the habit of ques-
tioning his benefactor's decisions. It was adroitly re-
presented -that he ought to devote some time to study,
his college career having been broken up by his devo*


tion to Meyer's welfare. A special tutor to coach him in
such branches as he had left unfinished was secured;
and he was advised to make the best of his time, which
he dutifully promised to do,

Marcus was to go along with Peter, which seemed
to assure him of necessary companionship and assis-
tance in case of possible illness. While nothing was
said definitely about the length of time they would, be
absent, Carl got the idea that a tour of only ,a few
months was contemplated.

"I shall leave a balance at the bank for you to draw
upon," said Peter, the day before his departure, in a
voice whidh he did his utmost to keep from trembling,
"If anything happens to me yon understand Uhrig
has my will, which leaves you fully provided for. I
have given you nearly everything I own, and in ad-
dition to my estate I have, as you know, an insurance
for $100,000 in the Northwestern of Milwaukee/'*

Meyer threw out this statement in the expectation
that some reply would be given by which he could
form an opinion from the words and tone used; but
Carl merely pressed the hand held out to him, He
was not demonstrative, as a rule, and his action in this
matter was entirely in keeping with his ordinary con-
duct, as Meyer was instantly obliged to admit to him-

Another fellow might have cried, "Oh, my dear
uncle, you are too kind !" or "I hope you will live long
years yet, sir !" Neither action was what Meyer had
any reason to expect from "his boy."

As a matter of fact, Carl would have parted from


him with the same warm grasp of the hand had he said
instead, "I have made a will leaving all my money to
a public institution." The young man was thinking of
what he already owed his kind friend rather than of
what he might expect in the future; and, more than
anything else, that he must keep a bright face to
the end.

"Come, we must get aboard," said Lindes, who stood
at their elbows at the moment of their final parting.
He feared to leave them together too long lest Peter
should inadvertently betray the depth of his feeling.

"Good-bye," said Carl, patting Mr. Meyer encourag-
ingly on the shoulder. "You're in good hands. If any-
thing should happen that you need me even if you are
taken with only a slight illness just telegraph and I'll
come at once. You know I understand you a little
better than anyone else. Take care of yourself and I'll
make the very best progress I can at my studies."

The train had hardly pulled out of the station when
Meyer confided to his companion, as he wiped the
moisture from his glasses, that he felt like a villain ; he
had half a mind, he said, to leave at the next station,
return and confess the whole plot to Carl. Marcus
knew his friend was not the man to do this, having
once started on his road, and only smiled indulgent-
ly. He was sorry to find him so utterly downhearted
and began to talk of the probability, the almost cer-
tainty, that the young man would justify his highest
hopes. He also pictured the great satisfaction that
would follow w*hen all doubts had been set at rest.

"I never had any until you put them in mv head,"
said Meyer, reproachfully.


"They'd have been sure to come, sooner or later. It
won't hurt you or him, when it's over."

"It hurts me now, though," said the shaking voice.

"You'll be happy enough to make up for it if he
proves all right."

"And supposing mind, I only say supposing he
should prove the other way "

There was such agony in the trembling tones that
Lindes felt a touch of contrition. In his heart he had
little doubt of Carl. At any rate it was too late now
to back out. He had got Meyer into this thing and
he must see it through.

During the first month two letters were received
from Meyer by his ward. Both were very brief and
contained little besides the information that he had
reached Omaha and San Francisco. Later a third
came from Mr. Lindes and contained the disquieting
news that Mr. Meyer was acting queerly. A physician
who had been called in feared that his brain was af-
fected, but was not yet certain of it. Lindes said he
had suggested that Carl be sent for, but his "uncle" did
not wish him to leave his studies.

Then another month went by without a word from
either of the voyagers. Though much perturbed, Carl
remained at his post, like the Boy on the Burning
Deck, as he had been instructed to do. He continued
to write to his friend, directing to the last address he
had received, that of the Palace Hotel in San Francis-
co, until at last his missives were returned to him,
marked "Not called for." Much distressed he now


began to have fears that something extraordinary had

Mr. Lindes surely must be able to write, in ordinary
circumstances, if Mr. Meyer was not. He could not
understand how both of them could be silent. Then a
crisis occured which had to be met heroically. The
bank from which Carl had been told to draw funds
sent word that the balance was nearly extinguished
and requested Mr. Meyer's present address.

Carl went immediately to the officers of the institu-
tion and explained why he could not give the informa-
tion they desired. He asked if they would not honor
his cheques until he could obtain news of the absent
one, but this on consideration they felt obliged to de-
cline to do.

He next went to Lawyer Uhrig's and asked that gen-
tleman for advice, but cbe attorney offered nothing of
value. He did, however, mention that Meyer's will
was locked up in his safe and that it left Cafl practic-
ally the whole of the old gentleman's fortune. If Peter
should prove to be dead, the lawyer said his course of
action would be simple. In that case he would sub-
mit the will to the Court and turn over the estate to
the legatee. He added, as if to anticipate the question,
that until there was no doubt of Meyer's decease he
had no authority to alienate a nickel of the funds in his

"Was there any rupture between you before he went
away ?" he asked, pointedly.

"Rupture? Oh, no!"

"It's a strange affair. Have you got Lindes' letter
in your pocket?"


Carl produced the document and the lawyer read H
through several times.

"I don't wish to alarm you, young man," he said,
after a pause, "but don't you think it rather queer that
Peter didn't want you sent for when he was feeling ill ?
Doesn't it seem as if he had changed his mind about
you? He may have decided to make a new will, be-
queathing his property in some other way."

"Yes," said Carl, trying to make out the connection.
"But I don't see as that would be any reason for not
sending for me. Nobody understands him as well
as I. Of course," he added, slowly, "if there's any
trouble with his brain Don't you think I ought to go
to him anyway, Mr. Uhrig? that he would be glad to
have me come, even if he didn't feel like sending for

The lawyer was silent for some seconds.

"You don't know where he is," he said, finally.
"And if you did it costs money to travel."

"I could raise enough to get to San Francisco. If
he is very sick he can't have gone far from there. I'm
going." And Carl roused himself and put on a look of

Mr. Uhrig grew thoughtful again.

"If he has made a new will or decided to, which I
suspect, you'll have to be pretty quick if you expect to
influence him," he said.

The young man flashed a look of indignation at the
speaker. Twice he opened his mouth, but could not
find words deep enough to utter the thoughts in his
mind. He arose instead and turned abruptly to the


"I suppose I could lend you a hundreci OT two on

my own account," Uhrig called after him.

Carl shook his head, without glancing back. He
would have accepted the offer gladly a moment earlier,
but now that the lawyer had practically accused him
of wishing to wrest a fortune from Mr. Meyer on his
deathbed, he could not touch his money. It would
burn his fingers.

The same evening Carl telegraphed to the Palace
Hotel, asking if they could give him the present ad-
dress of Peter Meyer. One of the hotel people respond-
ed that it was supposed the gentleman had gone to the
Hawaiian Islands, but they were not sure about it.
The anxious inquirer waited two weeks longer, hoping
each day a letter would arrive to relieve his suspense,
but none came. In the meantime he dismissed his
tutor and reduced his living expenses to the narrowest
limit. He had acquaintances to whom he might have
applied for a loan, but with such uncertain prospects
of payment he hesitated to ask aid of any of them.

At last he resolved to set out on a personal tour
of investigation. The continued silence of the absent
men was susceptible of the most alarming interpreta-
tion. If he could reach San Francisco he felt that he
should be able to trace their movements in some way
and the telegraph and mail had proved unsatisfactory
mediums. He pawned his watch and chain, with what
other things he could spare, and drew out the last cent
of the small balance remaining to his credit in the
bank. Leaving word where a dispatch or letter would
reach him, he then began his journey to the Pacific


As it was imperative that he should travel economi-
cally, he did not secure Pullman accommodations either
for day or night. He even packed a basket with edi-
bles, instead of dining at restaurants on the way. It
was a hard experience, used as he was to traveling re-
gardless of cost, but he bore it bravely. The hope
that he would find his lost friend buoyed him up
through everything.

Arriving at San Francisco, Carl lost no time in
visiting the agents of the lines that run steamers to
Honolulu, but the sought-for names were not found on
any of their lists. As late passengers sometimes get
their tickets from the purser, this did not absolutely
prove that the men had not taken passage in one of
tfiese boats. All the other lines that leave San Fran-
cisco by sea were next investigated, with the same re-

The clerk at the Palace who thought he had heard
Mr. Meyer and his friend talking of going to Honolulu
was found, but was unable to swear that he was cor-
rect in his recollection. He remembered Mr. Meyer
very well and recalled the fact that Carl had been there
with him on two previous occasions. All he was
sure of was that the old gentleman was in very feeble
health, the books showing that his meals were sent to
his room frequently during his stay at the hostelrie.
Mr. Lindes and he left the house together in a carriage
after their bill was paid, but the utmost efforts failed to
locate the cabman who took them.

Grown quite disconsolate over tihis condition of
things, Carl wandered aimlessly about the city for


several days, peering into every face he met in tKC
vain hope that it might be one of the lost ones. Find-
ing his nerves getting shaky, it occured to him one.
afternoon to take a row in the Bay as an economical
method of pulling himself and a boat together. Per-
haps but for the incident which accompanied this de-
cision, you might not have found this story worth-

Although the day was cloudy and rather cold Carl's
attention was soon attracted by a party of pleasure
seekers who were navigating the waters in a small
sloop and of wJhom only one seemed to find cause for
fear in the occasional gusts of wind that bent the mast
and caused the little vessel to careen. The ferry-boats,
passing and repassing on their trips to and from Oak-
land and Alameda, as well as occasional other steam
craft, took up more of the attention of the party, on
account of the rocking motion caused by the wake
each left behind it. There were two young men and a
young lady, who seemed to be enjoying themselves
hugely. They had as chaperon a more mature wo-
man, who uttered little screams from time to time,
which it was evident she did her best to suppress. The
elder of the young men, who was managing the boat,
took a quiet delight in her alarm, though he was heard
to assure her that there was not the slightest danger.
As the sloop tacked up and down the Bay it passed
close to Carl's and the voices of those on board could
be heard distinctly.

"Mr. Loring knows how to manage a boat as well

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Online LibraryAlbert RossA sugar princess → online text (page 2 of 19)