Chapter 12


The next morning, when they met at breakfast, Mr. Easy did not make his appearance, and Jack inquired of Mesty where he was?

“They say down below that the old gentleman not come home last night.”

“Did not come home!” said Dr. Middleton, “this must be looked to.”

“He great rascal dat butler man,” said Mesty to Jack; “but de old gentleman not sleep in his bed, dat for sure.”

“Make inquiries when he went out,” said Jack.

“I hope no accident has happened,” observed Mr. Hanson; “but his company has lately been very strange.”

“Nobody see him go out, sar, last night,” reported Mesty.

“Very likely he is in his study,” observed Dr. Middleton; “he may have remained all night, fast asleep, by his wonderful invention.”

“I’ll go and see,” said Jack.

Dr. Middleton accompanied him, and Mesty followed. They opened the door, and beheld a spectacle which made them recoil with horror. There was Mr. Easy, with his head in the machine, the platform below fallen from under him, hanging, with his toes just touching the ground. Dr. Middleton hastened to him, and, assisted by Mesty and our hero, took him out of the steel collar which was round his neck; but life had been extinct for many hours, and, on examination, it was found that the poor old gentleman’s neck was dislocated.

It was surmised that the accident must have taken place the evening before, and it was easy to account for it. Mr Easy, who had had the machine raised four feet higher, for the platform and steps to be placed underneath, must have mounted on the frame modelled by the carpenter for his work, and have fixed his head in, for the knob was pressed on his bump of benevolence. The frame-work, hastily put together with a few short nails, had given way with his weight, and the sudden fall had dislocated his neck.

Mr. Hanson led away our hero, who was much shocked at this unfortunate and tragical end of his poor father, while Dr. Middleton ordered the body to be taken up into a bedroom, and immediately despatched a messenger to the coroner of the county. Poor Mr. Easy had told his son but the day before that he felt convinced that this wonderful invention would immortalize him, and so it had, although not exactly in the sense that he anticipated.

We must pass over the few days of sorrow, and closed shutters, which always are given to these scenes. The coroner’s inquest and the funeral over, daylight was again admitted, our hero’s spirits revived, and he found himself in possession of a splendid property, and his own master.

He was not of age, it is true, for he wanted nine months; but on opening the will of his father, he found that Dr. Middleton was his sole guardian. Mr. Hanson, on examining and collecting the papers, which were in the greatest confusion, discovered bank-notes in different corners, and huddled up with bills and receipts, to the amount of two thousand pounds; and further, a cheque signed by Captain Wilson on his banker, for the thousand pounds advanced by Mr. Easy, dated more than fifteen months back.

Dr. Middleton wrote to the Admiralty, informing them that family affairs necessitated Mr. John Easy, who had been left at sick quarters, to leave his majesty’s service, requesting his discharge from it forthwith. The Admiralty was graciously pleased to grant the request, and lose the services of a midshipman. The

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