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Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesChester Rand; Or, The New Path To Fortune - Chapter 40. An Unexpected Surprise
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Chester Rand; Or, The New Path To Fortune - Chapter 40. An Unexpected Surprise Post by :coyotetrader Category :Long Stories Author :Horatio Alger Date :May 2012 Read :2993

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Chester Rand; Or, The New Path To Fortune - Chapter 40. An Unexpected Surprise

CHAPTER XL. AN UNEXPECTED SURPRISE

The door of the sitting room was opened quickly, and two boys dashed into the room. They were Edward Granger and Chester Rand.

Abner Trimble turned pale and uttered an imprecation. All his plans, so carefully laid, were menaced with ignominious defeat.

Floyd looked up in surprise, but did not comprehend the situation. In spite of the positive testimony he had given he did not even know Edward Granger by sight.

Mrs. Trimble uttered a wild cry, but her face lighted up with supreme joy.

"Edward!" she exclaimed, and half rising, opened her arms.

Her son sprang forward and embraced his mother.

"Oh, Edward!" she murmured, "are you really alive?"

"Very much alive, mother," answered Edward, with a smile.

"And I was mourning you as dead! I thought I should never see you again."

"I have not died that I am aware of, mother. Who told you I was dead?"

"Mr. Trimble and--this gentleman," looking at Floyd. "He told me he saw you drowned in New York Bay."

Edward regarded Floyd with curiosity.

"I haven't any recollection of ever seeing the gentleman," he said. "I don't know him."

"How do you explain this, Mr. Floyd?" asked Mrs. Trimble, suspiciously.

Floyd tried to speak, but faltered and stammered. He was in a very awkward position, and he realized it. Abner Trimble came to his assistance.

"You must have been mistaken, Floyd," he said. "The young man you saw drowned must have been a stranger."

"Yes," returned Floyd, grasping the suggestion. "Of course I must have been mistaken. The young man I saw bore a wonderful resemblance to Mr. Granger."

"How long is it since you saw me drowned, Mr. Floyd?" asked Edward.

"About three weeks," answered Floyd, in an embarrassed tone.

"In New York Bay?"

"Yes. You were out in a boat with two other young fellows--that is, a young man who was the perfect image of you was. The boat upset, and all three were spilled out. I saved the life of one, but the others were, as I thought, drowned. I am sorry that I was mistaken."

"Does that mean you are sorry I was not drowned?"

"No; I am sorry to have harrowed up your mother's feelings by a story which proves to be untrue."

"I suppose Mr. Trimble brought you here," said Edward, quietly. He had in former days stood in fear of his stepfather, but now, backed up by Chester, he felt a new sense of courage and independence.

"Of course I brought him here," growled Trimble. "Fully believing in my friend Floyd's story, for I know him to be a gentleman of truth, I thought your mother ought to know it."

"I was about to make my will at Mr. Trimble's suggestion, leaving him all my property," said Mrs. Trimble, regarding her husband suspiciously.

"Of course it was better to leave it to me than to second cousins whom you don't care anything about," interposed Trimble, sourly. "Come, Floyd, our business is at an end. We will go over to the saloon."

"Shan't I get anything for my trouble?" asked Floyd, uneasily, a remark which led the lawyer to regard him sharply.

"Your valuable time will be paid for," said Trimble, sarcastically.

He led the way out, and Floyd followed.

"Mrs. Trimble," said the lawyer, rising, "allow me to congratulate you on the happy event of this day. I am particularly glad that my services are not needed."

"They will be needed, Mr. Coleman. Will you do me the favor of drawing up a will leaving my entire property, with the exception of a thousand dollars, to my son, Edward, and bring it here to-morrow morning, with two trusty witnesses, and I will sign it."

"To whom will you leave the thousand dollars?"

"To my--to Mr. Trimble," answered Mrs. Trimble, coldly. "I will not utterly ignore him."

"Very well, Mrs. Trimble. I will call at half-past ten o'clock to-morrow morning."

The lawyer bowed himself out, leaving Mrs. Trimble and the boys together.

"Mother," said Edward, "I have not yet had a chance to introduce to you my friend, Chester Rand, of New York."

"I am very glad to welcome any friend of yours, Edward."

"You have reason to do so in this case, mother. But for Chester I should not have had the money to come on from New York. He paid my traveling expenses."

"He shall be repaid, and promptly, and he will accept my heartiest thanks, also. I hope, Mr. Rand, you will make your home with us while you are in Portland."

"Thank you, Mrs. Trimble, but I have already secured lodgings at a hotel. At some future time I may accept your invitation."

Chester strongly suspected that he would not be a welcome guest to Mr. Trimble when that gentleman learned that he had been instrumental in bringing home his stepson in time to defeat his plans. But he called every day till, his business being concluded, he started on his return to New York. Edward had expected to go back with him, but to this Mrs. Trimble would not listen.

"We have been separated long enough, Edward," she said. "Henceforth your place is at my side. I feel that I have done you injustice, and I want to repair it. I made a mistake in marrying Mr. Trimble, but it is too late to correct that. I will not permit him, hereafter, to separate me from my son."

"If you wish me to remain, mother, I will," rejoined Edward. "I was not happy away from you. From this time forth I will stand by you and protect you from all that is unpleasant."

Edward spoke with a courage and manliness which he had not formerly shown. It was clear that adversity had strengthened and improved him.

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