LIFE AMONG THE LOWLY 525
THE YOUNG MASTER.
Two days after, a young man drove a light wagon up through the avenue of China-trees, and, throwing the reins hastily on the horse's neck, sprang out and inquired for the owner of the place.
It was George Shelby; and to show how he came to be there, we must go back in our story.
The letter of Miss Ophelia to Mrs. Shelljy had, by some unfortunate accident, been detained, for a month or two, at some remote post-office, before it reached its destination ; and, of course, before it was received, Tom was already lost to view among the distant swamps of the Red River.
Mrs. Shelby read the intelligence with the deepest concern ; but any immediate action upon it was an impossibility. She was then in attendance on the sick-bed of her husband, who lay delirious in the crisis of a fever. Master George Shelby, who, in the interval, had changed from a boy to a tall young man, was her constant and faithful assistant, and her only reliance in superintending his father's affairs. Miss Ophelia had taken the precaution to send them the name of the lawyer who did business for the St. Clares; and the most that, in the emergency, could be done, was to address a letter of inquiry to him. The sudden death of Mr. Shelby, a few days after, brought, of course, an absorbing pressure of other interests for a season.
Mr. Shelby showed his confidence in his wife's ability, by appointing her sole executrix upon his estates; and thus immediately a large and complicated amount of business was brought upon her hands.