Nell of Shorne Mills (Chapter 3, page 2 of 6)


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Chapter 3

"Permit me to call you by the shorter name," said Mr. Vernon. "I'm
afraid I've been a terrible nuisance, and must continue to be for some
days. The doctor tells me that I can't venture to move yet."

"That's all right," responded Dick cheerfully. "We shall be glad to see
you about again, of course; but don't worry yourself on our account,
sir. To tell you the truth, we rather enjoy--that is, some of us"--he
corrected--"having 'an accident case' in the house. Mamma, for instance,
hasn't been so happy for a long while."

"Mrs. Lorton must be extremely good-natured and charitable," commented
Mr. Vernon.

Dick looked rather doubtful.

"Er--ye-s. You see, it's a little change and excitement, and we don't
get much of that commodity in Shorne Mills. So we're rather grateful to
you than otherwise for pitching yourself at our front gate. If you could
have managed to break both arms and a leg, I verily believe that mamma
would have wept tears of joy."

"I'm afraid I can't say I'm sorry I did not gratify her to that extent,"
said Mr. Vernon, with a grim smile; but it was a smile, and his dark
eyes were scanning the boy's handsome face with something approaching
interest. "Mrs. Lorton is your stepmother? Did I hear her say so, or did
I dream it?"

"It's no dream; it's real enough," said Dick, with intense gravity. "My
father"--he seated himself more comfortably--"was Lorton & Lorton, the
Patent Coffee Roaster, you know--perhaps you've heard of it?"

Mr. Vernon shook his head.

"Ah, well! a great many other people must have done so; for the roaster
made a pile of money, and my father was a rich man. Molly, you can take
that beef tea downstairs and give it to Snaps. He won't eat it, because
he's a most intelligent dog. Thought I'd get her out of the room, sir.
Molly's a good girl, but she's got ears and a tongue."

"So have I," said Drake Vernon, with a faint smile.

"Oh, I don't mind you. It's only right that you should know something
about the people in whose house you are staying."

Drake Vernon frowned slightly, for there was the other side of the
medal: surely, it was only right that the people in whose house he was
staying should know something about himself.

"Father made a lot of money over a roaster; then my mother died. I was
quite a kid when it happened; but Nell just remembers her. Then father
married again; and, being rich, I suppose, wanted a fashionable wife. So
he married mamma. I dare say that she's told you she's a Wolfer?"

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