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The Uncle Of An Angel by Thomas A. Janvier

Produced by David Widger


By Thomas A. Janvier

Copyright, 1891, by Harper & Brothers

[Illustration: Frontispiece 007 p60]

[Illustration: Page 3 020]


When Mr. Hutchinson. Port, a single gentleman who admitted that he was forty-seven years old and who actually was rising sixty, of strongly fixed personal habits, and with the most positive opinions upon every conceivable subject, came to know that by the death of his widowed sister he had been placed in the position of guardian of that sister's only daughter, Dorothy, his promptly formed and tersely expressed conception of the situation was that the agency by which it had been brought about was distinctively diabolical. The fact may be added that during the subsequent brief term of his guardianship Mr. Port found no more reason for reversing this hastily formed opinion than did the late King David for reversing his hastily expressed views in regard to the general tendency of mankind towards untruthfulness.

The two redeeming features of Mr. Port's trying situation were that his duties as a guardian did not begin at all until his very unnecessary ward was nearly nineteen years old; and did not begin actively--his ward having elected to remain in France for a season, under the mild direction of the elderly cousin who had been her mother's travelling companion--until she was almost twenty. When she was one-and-twenty, as Mr. Port reflected with much satisfaction, he would be rid of her.

Neither by nature nor by education had Mr. Hutchinson Port been fitted to discharge the duties which thus were thrust upon him. His disposition was introspective--but less in a philosophical sense than a physiological, for the central point of his introspection was his liver. That he made something of a fetich of this organ will not appear surprising when the fact is stated that Mr. Port was a Philadelphian. In that city of eminent good cheer livers are developed to a degree that only Strasburg can emulate.

Naturally, Mr. Port's views of life were bounded, more or less, by what he could eat with impunity; yet beyond this somewhat contracted region his thoughts strayed pleasantly afield into the far wider region of the things which he could not eat with impunity; but which, with a truly Spartan epicureanism, he did eat--and bravely accepted the bilious consequences! The slightly anxious, yet determined, expression that would appear upon Mr. Port's cleanshaven, ruddy countenance as he settled himself to the discussion of an especially good and especially dangerous dinner betrayed heroic possibilities in his nature which, being otherwise directed, would have won for him glory upon the martial field.

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