per, Tom Callaway, who was lost with the Will O' the Wisp off the Labrador coast, when Nathaniel was a lisping child. It was not strange that he should abide with his dead father's mate, the town gossips could account for that. The marvel was that rough old Nick Top, whose coat was never but of the shabbiest, should deck out the son of Tom Callaway, who was drowned without a dollar to his credit, in a manner so preposterously extravagant.
Nicholas Top was desperately poor; but there was no end to that lad's apparel - to his tweeds and overcoats and top-coats, to furs, and to his shoes, to his cravats, and whatnot; and each single item of that vast wardrobe must be speckless and in the fashion, else Nick would make fuming haste to provide another.
The mystery went a deal further. When first I dined at the little cottage - it was Nick Top who gave the invitation - I was utterly bewildered by the strange circumstances of the occasion. At one end of the table sat Nathaniel, cheery, precise in speech, exquisite in manner; and there was spread before him, laid on delicate china and silver and glass, all the delicacies that St. John's might hav