Why anyone so old as Daniel Breckenridge, my grandfather’s brother, should keep on working as hard as he did, was a mystery to me. He was about eighty-four; and a million little crinkles crisscrossed on the dry, parchment-like skin of his face where it was not covered by his snow-white beard. But he still went briskly about his duties as shipping manager of a great ship chandler’s establishment at Galveston.
Just now he whispered sharply to me, and drew me by the arm behind some bales of canvas in the depths of the vast shipping-room.
“Look! There he is!”
He seemed to be trembling with intense excitement as he pointed toward the great sliding doors.
There, watching the men loading up a truck with a pile of goods consigned to some ship, was an old man, just as old and snowy and crinkled, and just as firm and active as my grand-uncle himself. I looked at him blankly for a moment. He was an interesting-looking old man, but I saw nothing to set me off a-tremble with excitement. But my old grand-uncle clutched my arm.
“Old John Kaspar, the Mystery Man!” he whispered again.
That suddenly galvanized me into action. I took one more good look at him, and got into motion at once.
“Do you think you could hold him here somehow until I get my outfit?” I asked. “I’ll be back in ten minutes.” It was now my turn to be tense and thrilled.
“It will take them longer than that to load up the truck,” he said; “but hurry.”