Part 3 out of 6
"What was its name?"
"I can't remember," said the Earl. "It ran something like this," and
he hummed a few measures.
"Oh," cried Florence, "Old Folks at Home." The scene through which
she had gone with the Captain had awakened deep emotions, and her
voice was in the temperamental condition to give a sadly-weird effect
to the lines of the chorus. When she sang
"Oh, my heart is sad and weary"
the Lady Elfrida turned to Mrs. Ellice, the Rector's wife, and
remarked, "There was a rumour that Captain Hornaby was greatly
interested in Miss Sawyer, but from something she told me to-night I
do not think it will be a match."
"Why, what did she say?" asked Mrs. Ellice with natural feminine
curiosity as regards love affairs.
"I hardly feel warranted in repeating it," said the Lady Elfrida, "as
it was given to me in confidence."
Later in the evening the Lady Elfrida sought Captain Hornaby. "My
dear Captain, don't you think Miss Sawyer sings divinely?"
The Captain, with his mind on Col. Spencer and the tenfold check,
replied, rather brusquely, "I'm not a great lover of negro melodies."
The Lady Elfrida felt sure that Captain Hornaby was still an
"eligible," but she reflected that he was a fourth son and dependent
upon the bounty of his father and elder brother, and that her dowry
must come from her brother who, in her opinion, had a very
extravagant wife--but none of those American girls had any idea of
The next morning, Captain Hornaby went to London in search of Colonel
Spencer. He visited his clubs, and, because it was necessary, many of
the gambling places, but his quest was fruitless. As a last resort he
went to the War Office and learned that the Colonel had sailed the
day before to join his regiment in India.
The Captain reported the failure of his mission to Florence.
"I have been talking the matter over with Aunt Ella. She advises me
to send a cable message to father asking what bank the check was
deposited in and by whom."
"He may have cashed it at your father's bank," said the Captain.
"Then Aunt Ella says my father can see the bank officers and make
sure that the Colonel got the money."
"I will go back to London to-morrow and send the message in your
"The story deepens," said the Captain, when he returned with the
reply from the Hon. Nathaniel Adams Sawyer. It read,
"State National. Deposited five hundred. Revere House. Interviewed my
"What does it mean?" asked Florence. "So many words are omitted. I
can't make sense of it."
"It means," said the Captain, "that Col. Spencer is innocent. He was
staying at the Revere House when I paid him his three hundred
dollars. He must have cashed your father's check at the hotel, they
paying him five hundred dollars only, and they, I mean the hotel
proprietors, deposited it in their bank, the State National."
"But what do the last three words mean?"
"They mean that some one in your father's bank raised the check and
he has seen the bank officers about it."
"I'm so glad," cried Florence. "You must come and explain it all to
She was greatly pleased to learn that Captain Hornaby was innocent of
any complicity in the embezzlement, and said to Florence: "You will
get a letter from your father telling you who the real criminal is,"
and turning to the Captain, continued, "We go back to Fernborough
Hall to-morrow, Captain Hornaby, but when that letter comes we will
send for you."
"I can bear the suspense now that Colonel Spencer and myself are free
from any charge of criminality, but I greatly regret, Miss Sawyer,
that your father has met with such a heavy loss."
"Don't worry, yet, Captain," said Aunt Ella. "Florence's father won't
be out any money if there's any legal way of making the bank bear the
When Aunt Ella and Florence returned to Fernborough Hall they told
Alice the wonderful story.
"I am so glad for your sake, Florence, and the Captain's too. I think
Aunt Ella's suggestion about sending the cablegram to your father was
an excellent one."
The story was told, also, to Sir Stuart. He was gratified to learn
that two officers of Her Majesty's army had been freed from the
charge of embezzlement, but deplored the fact that gambling was so
prevalent among them.
"I am an Englishman born and bred," said he, "but I think the law of
primogeniture is, as a general rule, a bad one. Driving, as it does,
the younger sons into the army, the navy, the church, and the law may
be beneficial, for the branches of our national defence and the
professions must be recruited from a stratum of intelligent men; the
lack of money may be a spur to ambition in many instances, but it
often leads to devious practices, and--" he saw that he had three
interested listeners--"the whole system is contrary to your
countrymen's idea that all men are created free and equal. While I
cannot accept that doctrine _in toto_, I do believe that the bestowal
of titles and fortune upon the eldest son is attended with grave
evils, not only among our nobility, but in our royal successions. The
Almighty does not follow such a law in endowing his children, and it
is contrary to Nature's _dictum_ 'the survival of the fittest.'"
Sir Stuart had expressed such opinions during his term in Parliament.
The path of the political pioneer is strewn with temporary defeats,
but all reforms, based upon truth, are ultimately successful, or life
would be a stagnant pool instead of a river of progress.
A letter from Maude contained a solution of the mystery.
"DEAR AUNT ELLA AND SISTER FLO:--What a rumpus there has been about
that raised check. Father was as dumb as an oyster about the affair
until he had it all settled, then he told ma and me.
"How you two feminines must have suffered--one from hopeless love--
and the other from helpless sympathy. But it is all over now, and the
probity of two, presumably, gallant officers is vindicated, while the
paying teller of father's bank is behind the bars with a certain
prospect of years of manual labour for bed and board. Why will men be
so foolish? Easily answered. The love of gold, not made in an honest
way, but by speculating with other folks' money. Mr. Barr, the
aforesaid teller, is a nice young fellow with a wife and two
children, but his life is wrecked. Of course she will get a divorce
and try to find a better man. We are all well, including Mr. Merry.
He intended to take the place in father's office that Quincy spoke
about, but Harry--there, I've written it, so will let it go--had a
better position offered him by Mr. Curtis Carter, one of Quincy's old
friends, and he's doing splendidly Mr. Carter told me.
"I am heartbroken about Quincy. I trust Alice's hopes may be realized
and most of the time I share them.
"How's that nephew of mine? Send him over and we'll bring him up a
Yankee boy. He's no Englishman.
"We are all well, and everybody sends love to everybody. MAUDE.
"P. S. Father didn't lose anything on the check. The bank paid the
money back to him."
* * * * * * *
Aunt Ella kept her promise to the Captain and the part of Maude's
letter which concerned the check was read to him. He improved his
opportunity by asking Florence to be his wife.
"My father was greatly pleased with you and will welcome you as a
"Whether my father will welcome you as a son is the question,"
said Florence. "My father is a very wealthy man. I know the
conventionalities and requirements of English life, and although my
love for you is not dependent upon your having or not having a
fortune, I cannot become a burden to you, or dependent upon your
family, as I might become if my father refused his consent."
"You American girls are intensely practical."
"Are not Englishmen equally so when they pay court to American
heiresses? I don't mean you, of course."
"My father and brothers will allow me twenty-five hundred pounds a
year, about twelve thousand dollars of your money."
"Could we live, as we have both lived, on that income, Reginald?"
"To be honest, Florence, I don't think we could have a town house, a
place in the country, and entertain much."
"Certainly not, Reginald. If my father gives his consent, I will be
your wife whenever you say. If he refuses, we must wait."
The next mail brought a short letter for Florence from her sister.
"DEAR FLO:--I didn't want to put what I'm going to write now in my
other letter. I suppose Reggie will propose now. Don't you accept him
until Father is told. You love money and style, and the first enables
you to indulge in the second.
"I don't blame Reggie for borrowing if he was hard up, but knew he
could pay. But most men are deceitful creatures, anyway. Don't let
Aunt Ella write to father. He was always sore about her influence
over Quincy, and he mustn't think Aunt Ella made this match. If the
Countess would write him, puffing up Reggie's ancestors, and his blue
blood and ancestral home, and a hint (I hope it is so) that the
Hornaby's are a very wealthy family and related (distantly of course)
to royalty, Pater may say 'yes,' and give you his blessing. I do, if
that will help any. Your loving sister,
* * * * * * *
Florence had to make confidantes of Aunt Ella and Alice. She repeated
her conversation with Reginald and allowed them to read Maude's
"Maude has a level head," was Aunt Ella's comment. "I'll go and have
a talk with Linda. If she will write your father in the Captain's
behalf, I think things will come out all right."
Linda was not only willing to assure the Hon. Nathaniel Adams Sawyer
that Capt. Hornaby belonged to an old and honourable family, but also
that he did not seek his daughter's hand because her father was a
wealthy man, for the Hornaby estate was a large one, and the rentals
sufficient to allow the Captain an adequate income, although there
were other brothers to share the patrimony.
The Hon. Nathaniel deliberated before answering. Florence had always
been a dutiful daughter and the fact that she would not become
engaged without his consent was an acknowledgment of his parental
influence which was vastly pleasing to his vanity. He had been
tricked into accepting Alice as his son's wife, and he knew that
Maude, when she made up her mind to marry would be guided little, if
any, by his advice. Filial love and respect deserved their reward.
He wrote the Countess giving his consent to the marriage, and, what
was most important, declared his intention of allowing Mrs. Captain
Hornaby an income of fifteen thousand dollars annually, and a liberal
provision at his death. He was very sorry, but pressing legal duties
would prevent his attendance at the wedding if it took place in
The Countess insisted upon the wedding taking place at Ellersleigh.
She had obtained the, otherwise, obdurate father's consent, and
demanded compensation for her services.
So many weddings have been described that novelty in that line is
impossible. Sufficient to say that the Countess fulfilled
expectations and more, and the event was the year's sensation in
Sussex, the echoes of which reached imperial London, and far off
The Lady Elfrida Hastings was present at the wedding. She
congratulated the Captain and his bride, but took occasion to say to
"My dear, don't sing those sentimental American songs any more. That
night you looked so _triste_ I was afraid the present delightful
affair would never become a reality."
Florence did not confess that, on the evening in question, she had
The Hon. Nathaniel Adams Sawyer sat in his library reading a
ponderous legal document. It was full of knotty points requiring deep
thinking, and the Hon. Nathaniel was breathing deeply and thinking
deeply when the door was opened quietly and a young girl looked in.
She stood for a moment regarding the reader.
"Father, are you very busy?"
The man finished reading the page before noticing the speaker.
"I am always busy, Maude, except when asleep, and I sometimes think
my subliminal consciousness is active then."
Maude's inclination was to say "Oh, my!" but she repressed the
"I can give you a few minutes, Maude, if the subject is an important
one. Come in."
Maude entered, seated herself, folded her hands in her lap and
regarded her father as a disobedient pupil would a teacher.
The Hon. Nathaniel was listening attentively.
"Repetition is effective if not indulged in to excess. I often use it
in my arguments before juries."
Maude flushed. She was particularly sensitive to sarcasm, but could
stand any amount of good-natured raillery.
"Father, I'm going to be married."
The Hon. Nathaniel readjusted his glasses and regarded the speaker.
"It must be a clandestine attachment. I am not aware of meeting any
gentleman who declared any desire to make you his wife. At whose
house have you met your intended? I have no reason to suspect your
Aunt Ella owing to her absence in Europe."
"I've never been to anybody's house. I've walked with him on the
Common and in the Public Garden."
"Ah, two parks frequented by the elite of the city."
Maude resented his last remark. "Just as good people as I am go
"Do you mean that you are no better than those who go there?"
His voice was stern. Maude saw that she had made a mistake. "Some of
them," she said in a low voice.
"Who is the favoured gentleman? Have I the honour of his
"Why, yes, you've met him. It's Harry, I mean Mr. Merry."
"The young man who was Quincy's private secretary. Quincy wished me
to take him into my office, but he never appeared in person."
"He's with Mr. Curtis Carter on Tremont Street. Mr. Carter was one of
Quincy's most intimate friends."
"And Mr. Merry preferred going to one of Quincy's friends, than to
me, and criminal cases rather than civil procedure. Mr. Carter revels
in murder trials. But why has this young man failed to consult me on
a matter so greatly affecting your future? Why have you assumed the
initiative? This is not leap year."
Maude was ready to cry, but she choked down her rising temper.
"I think he's afraid to."
"What has he done that he should fear me?"
Maude made another mistake. "He never borrowed any money of you."
The Hon. Nathaniel disliked any reference to that raised check. "If
he marries you, perhaps he will find it difficult to support you
without borrowing money--but I shall not loan him any."
"He says he can support me as well as I wish, and I am going to marry
This was flat-footed defiance, and the Hon. Nathaniel grew red in the
face at being thus bearded in his den.
"Maude, I am astonished. I command you not to meet this young man
again unless in my presence or that of your mother. When I meet him,
I shall have something to say to him."
He resumed the reading of the document, and Maude, knowing that it
was useless to say more, left the room.
The next day at noon, Maude told her mother she was going to make
some purchases on Winter Street. As no objection was made, Maude felt
sure that her father had not mentioned their conversation to her
mother. She met Harry and they walked down the "Long Path" on the
Common, made famous by the genial "Autocrat," not only of one
breakfast table, but of thousands of others.
"He will never consent," said Maude.
"I thought so."
"He was real mean to me--as sarcastic as he could be."
"Rich fathers are usually indignant when their daughters wish to
marry poor men. He can have no other objection to me."
"Have you any money saved up, Harry?"
"Yes, I've got two thousand dollars in the bank to furnish our flat
"We shall have to go to a justice of the peace, for father will not
let me be married at home. Oh, if Aunt Ella were here."
"Where is she?"
"In England. She's the wife of a baronet, and he is rich and so is
"Maude, let's elope and go to England for our honeymoon."
* * * * * * *
Aunt Ella and Alice had been to Ketchley to make some purchases for
young Quincy's wardrobe. As they entered the house a maid said that a
young lady and gentleman were waiting to see them.
"Both of us?" queried Aunt Ella.
The maid replied: "They said they wished to see Lady Fernborough and
Mrs. Quincy Adams Sawyer."
"I will see if baby is all right and join you in a few minutes," said
Aunt Ella passed her hat and wrap to the maid, and entered the
"Maude Sawyer, what cloud did you drop from? Where did you come from?
Excuse me," said Aunt Ella as she espied Maude's companion, who had
kept in the background.
"This is my husband, Mr. Harry Merry. We're just from London. We've
been doing the town. What a big noisy place."
Alice came in and the introduction was repeated.
"Well, Maude," said Aunt Ella, "we're delighted to see you and your
husband, but your arrival was so unexpected that you must pardon my
evidences of surprise."
"They're very excusable," said Maude. "I can hardly realize, myself,
that we are here. You and Alice are wondering what brought us, and
you are entitled to an explanation. We just eloped because father
would not give his consent."
The presence of Mr. Merry made the situation an awkward one, but Aunt
Ella was a woman with opinions and was not afraid to express them. So
"I suppose your father will disinherit you. I hope that will not mar
your future happiness."
"I don't think it will. Harry has a good position, we've got some
money in the bank, and we're going to have a nice little flat in
Cambridge or Roxbury. I want to see my little nephew, Quincy's boy,
and then we are going right back to London."
"Come with me," said Alice, "and see the baby, but Aunt Ella and I
will never consent to your leaving us so soon. You must pay us a long
"I would," replied Maude, "but for one thing father said to me. We
will stay over night, for I have so much to tell both of you."
"Come to the library," said Aunt Ella. "I will introduce your husband
to Sir Stuart, and then we will go to the nursery where we can talk
as long as we wish."
When they reached the nursery, Maude's first wish was gratified--she
held, and hugged and kissed, and praised her brother's boy. Alice's
face beamed with delight.
"Now, Maude," exclaimed Aunt Ella, "why this runaway marriage? Tell
us all about it."
Maude laughed. "It's so funny. I told father I was going to marry Mr.
Merry, and he about the same as said I shouldn't. He told me not to
meet him again unless in his presence or mother's."
"That was reasonable. Why did you object?" asked Aunt Ella.
"It wouldn't have done any good. He's opposed to Harry because he
isn't rich. Was Nathaniel Adams Sawyer rich when he married your
sister, Aunt Ella?"
"I should say not. They began housekeeping in three rooms, but my
brother-in-law is a born money-maker."
"We're going to have five rooms, and I think Harry has it in him to
make money--at any rate I'm going to give him a chance and help him
all I can."
"How did you manage to get away?" asked Alice. She remembered that
Quincy married her without his father's consent. But for the fact
that she became famous by writing a popular book, he would never have
welcomed her into the family. In fact, he had been "cornered" and had
to surrender. So, she was full of sympathy for Maude, for her own
fate might have been similar.
"That's the funny part," said Maude. "I could get away easily enough,
but I wanted my clothes and many things that I prized. I knew it was
wrong, but I deceived my father. I am sorry for that, but I couldn't
give Harry up."
"What did you do?" asked Aunt Ella.
"Why, I told father if he wanted to get me away from Harry that he
must let me come to England and see Florence. I didn't say I was
coming to see you--"
"That wouldn't have appealed to him," interrupted Aunt Ella.
Maude continued: "Then everything was plain sailing. He gave me money
for an outfit, bought my ticket and return, found me a chaperone, a
brother lawyer and his wife were coming over, and gave me five
hundred dollars to spend. I consider that is my dowry, for I don't
expect any more. Florence gets fifteen thousand a year and I get five
hundred all in a lump. But I am not envious of Florence. She needs
the money, and I don't."
"Then your father does not know that you are married?" said Alice.
"Certainly not. Harry was on the same boat, but we never spoke to
each other all the way over. We suspected that father had spoken to
Mr. Harding or his wife about Harry, and so we were very circumspect
and gave no cause for suspicion."
"Well," said Aunt Ella, "I will go with you to see Florence, but Mr.
"Please call him Harry, Aunt Ella. Isn't he your nephew--in-law?"
"Then," Aunt Ella continued, "Harry must stay here. Alice and I will
think out some way of breaking the news to your father. I'm glad you
told me the whole story, for I think I see a way to overcome his
The visit to Mrs. Captain Hornaby was paid, and Maude Sawyer was
obliged to kiss and be kissed by her brother-in-law.
"You didn't win the canoe race," said Maude, "but you were determined
to have that kiss and so you married Florence;" but her sister was
not present when she made the remark.
"Where is your friend, Colonel Spencer?"
"In India. I have never seen him since I gave him that check."
"That paying teller got twenty years in prison for his penmanship,"
said Maude. "Father thought you were the bad man until Aunt Ella sent
the message that led father to investigate and find out who deposited
the check. I was awful glad that you got out of it so nicely."
"So was I," said Reginald. "I hope some day I can help somebody else
out of a bad box just to show my gratitude."
Maude thought of her "bad box," but Reginald could not help her or
"Are you going to India?" she asked. "How is it that you are not with
"I have sold my captaincy. Florence did not wish me to leave her, and
my eldest brother decided the matter. He hates farming and accounts.
I love both, so I am in charge of the estate. My brother Paul has
been given a living as they call it in the church, and Geoffrey has
entered the navy. My brother Wilfred will inherit the title, so we
are all provided for."
Aunt Ella and Alice had many long confabs about the young couple, and
how to reinstate Maude in her father's good graces when the truth
became known to him.
"I have an idea," said Alice one morning to Aunt Ella. "Yesterday I
had a letter from Dr. Paul Culver, one of the executors of Quincy's
will. He says his practice is so great that he cannot do justice to
my interests, and asks me to suggest some one to be appointed in his
"What's your idea? Though perhaps I can guess," said Aunt Ella.
"I am going to suggest Mr. Merry. I had many talks with him while you
were away with Maude, and I am deeply impressed in his favour. Are
"Not so much as you will be when I tell you that Florence and her
husband are going back with Maude. Harry will have to go too, so
something must be done. Now, you know that I gave Quincy an allowance
of five thousand dollars a year when he was married. I am going to
give it to Harry."
"And why not let them live in the Mount Vernon Street house--until--"
Her voice broke.
"I know what you were going to say, Alice. It is a good idea--all
furnished and ready for occupancy. I shall never see it again--and
you may not for years--for I can't spare you."
"When do they sail?" Alice asked.
"In about a week. I'm going to write a letter to Sarah to-night to
pave the way."
It was midnight when Aunt Ella completed a letter that seemed to fit
"MY DEAR SISTER SARAH:--I write to let you know that Florence and her
husband will sail for America in about a week. This may not be news
to you, for probably Florence has written you, but it will be news
when I tell you that Maude and her husband, Mr. Merry, will sail on
the same steamer. They have visited Florence and are now here with
"I presume Nathaniel will be very angry, and he may say that I am
responsible, as he did in Quincy's case. I did help Quincy and Alice
and I am going to help Maude and Harry. I am going to allow them five
thousand a year and Alice gives them the free use of the Mount Vernon
Street house. She has written Nathaniel about Mr. Merry taking Dr.
Culver's place as one of Quincy's executors.
"Now, if Nathaniel gets very angry and threatens to disinherit Maude,
just ask him, for me, why it is that all his children have been
married away from home. Has it always been their fault, or is his
home discipline in part, or wholly, the cause? It didn't make so much
difference in Quincy's case, but here in England no girl is married
outside of her father's house, unless it be in church.
"Your children are now all married, and, I think, well married. Let
Nathaniel make the best of it, and, instead of keeping up a family
warfare, change his tactics and become an indulgent, loving father.
"P. S. Let Nathaniel read this letter. It will do him good."
Aunt Ella read her letter over before sealing it. There was a quiet
smile on her face as she pressed the seal upon the melted wax. Then
"Yes, it will do him good to read that letter. He has no one else to
boss now but Sarah, but she doesn't resist, and ready acquiescence
takes away the pleasure of domineering. The boss wishes to break
stout twigs, not simply press down pliant willows." There came a
sharp rap upon the door--it was thrown open, and Alice entered.
"Oh, Aunt Ella, Quincy is very sick. He is choked up so he can hardly
breathe. I'm afraid it is the croup."
"We must send for Dr. Parshefield at once. But who can go? Henry
injured his foot to-day and cannot walk. Lennon, the butler, cannot
ride a horse, and Simon, the stable boy, would be frightened to death
so late at night."
"Oh, what shall we do?" cried Alice.
"Do?" exclaimed Aunt Ella. "I'll go myself. It's only two miles to
Ketchley and I can ride back with the Doctor. I'll get Harry to help
me harness the horse. Open the windows to give your boy plenty of
air, and fan him."
She took up the oil lamp that stood upon her writing table. "This is
whale oil--a nauseous smelling compound. Rub his neck and chest well
Alice sought the nursery and followed Aunt Ella's directions. She was
sitting by the crib watching her child's laboured breathing when her
"Harry is going on horseback. He knows the road to Ketchley and where
the Doctor lives. Give him some more of the oil."
It was administered and the child began to choke--he seemed to be
strangling--then the phlegm that had impeded his breathing was thrown
off, and his face resumed its natural colour. When the Doctor arrived
an hour later, he was sleeping quietly. Aunt Ella told what they had
done by way of emergency treatment.
"Evidently a very effective treatment," said Dr. Parshefield. "I
could not have done better myself."
"It was so good of you, Harry," said Alice. "I shall never forget
Then she threw her arms about Aunt Ella's neck.
"Oh, Auntie, if he had been taken from me, I could not have borne
It had been arranged while Aunt Ella and Maude were at Ellersleigh
that Florence and her husband should come to Fernborough Hall and
make a visit before their departure for the United States. Owing to
Harry's presence at the Hall it became necessary, when they arrived,
to divulge the well-kept secret of Maude's unconventional marriage.
Aunt Ella managed the introduction with her usual
straightforwardness, treating it as a matter of course. Florence and
her husband were naturally surprised, but both of them liked Harry
Merry. Had Florence been married at home, with the usual family
friends and accessories, she would have looked with less tolerance on
Maude's elopement. To be sure she had not eloped, but when she looked
into her own heart she had to confess to herself that she would have
married Reginald even if her parents had refused their consent. So,
as the intent makes the offence, she forgave Maude for her escapade,
and during their stay at the Hall they manifested more sisterly
regard for each other than they had ever before shown.
Reginald and Harry "hitched horses" at once. Men who marry sisters
are united by a stronger tie than the usual brother-in-law bond, and
the Englishman and the American felicitated themselves upon their
capture of the Sawyer sisters. They played billiards on a table where
the balls had not clicked for a generation. They smoked in a room
which had been free from the odour of tobacco for a score of years.
They rode horseback upon steeds whose principal duty, as Harry
expressed it, had been to "heat their 'eads horff." They even fished
in the miniature lake and gave their catch to dogs who knew so little
about real sport that they thought the fish were game. They took long
walks together and knew by name every man, woman, and child on the
estate. The conservative Englishman, if alone, would not have gone so
far, but the democratic American took the lead, and politeness, if
not inclination, forced his companion to follow.
They often passed an evening with Sir Stuart in his library. The
Captain related incidents in his military life, while Harry, who had
been a great reader, drew on both memory and imagination for tales of
the Great West, with an occasional ghost story, supported by
irrefutable witnesses. The day before their departure, Aunt Ella took
Florence to her boudoir and told her what she had written to _her_
sister, Nathaniel's wife, about her children's marriages.
"I hope Sarah will let your father read my letter. I said just what I
thought, and I shall stand by Maude and her husband come what may."
"And so will I," cried Florence. "You helped Reginald by solving the
mystery of that check, and I will do all I can to help Maude and
Harry. I think he is a fine fellow, and Reggie says they have become
like two brothers."
"I am glad to hear," said Aunt Ella, "that they are bound by love as
well as by law."
In about a month there came a long letter from Maude.
"DEAR AUNT ELLA AND SISTER ALICE:--I have so much to tell you that I
hardly know where to begin. We had a fine trip--no storms--and none
of us missed a meal, which was bad for the company. But they made up
their loss on others who ate a supper on leaving England and a
breakfast on reaching America.
"Mother was delighted to see us and father was so nice to us all that
I came near fainting. He is a changed man. I wonder what drug he has
* * * * * * *
"Didn't you tell Maude about your letter to her mother?" asked Alice.
"No, I told Florence, but thought Maude would appreciate the change
now, _if_ it took place, if she was ignorant of what influence had
been brought to bear on her father."
Aunt Ella continued the reading.
* * * * * * *
"Harry and I have been to Fernborough. Alice's brother sent us word
that Uncle Isaac Pettingill was dead and we went to the funeral. He
had no complaint. He was tired out, so Mrs. Maxwell told us, and went
to sleep. He left each of Mrs. Maxwell's boys five thousand dollars,
and the same amount to Quincy Adams Pettingill. The remainder of his
fortune, I don't know how much, is bequeathed to build a free
hospital in Fernborough.
"There's another good man dead--Deacon Mason,--and his wife has gone
to live with her daughter, Mrs. Pettingill. That funny little man,
Mr. Stiles, has gone there too.
"I saw Mrs. Hawkins, and she said: 'I mos' cried my eyes out when I
heerd 'bout that collision at sea, an' what it did. I can't see no
sense in them captains bein' so careless and reckless. Tell Miss
Alice I wish she'd come home and bring that boy. I want ter see ef he
looks like his father.'
"I came near forgetting what to me is the most important part of my
letter. Harry has been appointed as Quincy's executor in place of Dr.
Culver, and, this is the wonderful thing, father has induced Harry to
leave Mr. Carter's office and go into his office. He told Harry that
they were all getting old and they needed young blood in the firm--
but Harry's not in the firm yet. No more this time from your loving,
"My letter to Sarah did do some good," said Aunt Ella triumphantly.
"Poor Uncle Ike, I wish I could have been with him. I wonder if I
shall ever see Fernborough again?"
Aunt Ella did not answer the question as she would have liked to, and
Alice went to her room to recall those former happy days which would
never come again.
Nearly nine years had passed since young Quincy's birth, and Alice
was still at Fernborough Hall. She could not leave it now, for Aunt
Ella was again a widow. Her mind was troubled about her boy. He had
recurrent attacks of throat trouble, and was not strong as she wished
him to be.
"It's the damp, foggy weather," said Aunt Ella. "We're too near the
water, and this country, beautiful as it is, is not like our bright
Dr. Parshefield suggested a trip to the South of France, but Alice
declared that was impossible.
"Something must be done--now what shall it be?" was Aunt Ella's
declaration and inquiry. Then Alice remembered what Maude had said in
one of her letters--that young Quincy should be brought up as an
American. She spoke to Aunt Ella about the matter, repeating what
Maude had written.
"Where could we send him?"
"The _where_ is not so important" Aunt Ella remarked, "as the _to
whom_. Florence and Maude are both out of the question for they have
young children of their own who might, or might not, take to an
outsider. Quincy's mother would be delighted to have him for he is
her son's son, but Boston, with its east winds would be no better
than here. Besides, his grandfather would say that he'd raised one
family of disobedient children and he wanted a quiet life."
The question remained unsettled that day, but the next morning Aunt
Ella burst into Alice's room with a loud cry--
"Eureka! I have it! Why didn't we think of it before?"
"You say you have it," said Alice, "but what is it? That pattern that
you were looking for?"
"No, a happy home for this youngster," as she patted his curly head
"Now, can't you guess?"
Alice shook her head.
"Well, I must say, you are not a very thoughtful _sister_," and the
last word was strongly emphasized.
"What, do you mean--'Zekiel?" cried Alice.
"The very man, and Fernborough is the place. You must write to your
brother at once."
As Alice was writing the thought came to her, "Perhaps if my boy goes
to Fernborough, some day I may go to see him, and the old town, and
the people there, once more."
In due time a reply came from 'Zekiel. It was short, but to the
point. "Huldy will be delighted to have him. Our boy Quincy is nearly
fourteen years old now and he'll take good care of his little cousin.
I'll try and be a father to him until you come for him."
The important question, "How was the boy to reach America?" was
answered by one of those happy coincidences which happen often in
books and occasionally in real life, such as is being depicted. The
Rev. Mr. Gay, who had been a constant visitor to Uncle Ike during his
last days, paid a visit to Fernborough Hall on his return from a trip
to the Holy Land.
"Heaven must have sent you," said Alice, and she told him of her
desire to have her boy go to Fernborough.
Mr. Gay consented to take charge of young Quincy. In a few days the
parting came. The mother's heart was sorely tried. But mother-love is
unselfish, and Alice's only consolation came from the conviction that
her temporary loss was for her son's permanent good.
Her nights were sleepless, filled with thoughts of accidents, and
storms and collisions at sea, until a welcome letter dispelled her
imaginings, for it brought the intelligence that young Quincy was
safe with his father's friends.
HIS FATHER'S FRIENDS
It is the good fortune of some fatherless or motherless children to
be adopted into good families where the natural love and care that
have been denied them are supplied, as it were, by proxy. With young
Quincy it was so, only much more so. It fell to his lot to be adopted
by an entire town. Its residents had been, with few exceptions, his
father's friends. The sad story of his father's loss at sea was known
to all, and the town's heart warmed towards him; the town's arms were
open to embrace him, and care for him.
To his Aunt Huldah Pettingill he seemed as though sent from another
world. He was her husband's nephew, and hers--but there was a closer
tie acknowledged within her own heart, and kept there as a precious
secret. He was Quincy Adams Sawyer's son--the son of the man who had
taught her what love was. It had been a bitter lesson, for when her
heart was awakened, it was but to find that the one who had played
upon its sensitive strings did not love her, and that her duty was to
another who did love her. She had been a true and loving wife with no
unsatisfied heart-longings, but--
"You may break, you may shatter the vase, if you will,
But the scent of the roses will hang round it still."
So Huldah Mason still kept within a secret corner of her heart a fond
remembrance of happy days gone by. And now Quincy's son was one of
her family; she could be a mother to him and no one would have a
right to question her manifestations of affection. It is often that
the human heart thus finds solace for past sad experiences or
It was only natural that Huldah, after her father's death, should
take her mother to her own home. The old Deacon had acquired enough
of this world's goods to avoid the necessity of hard labour during
the last years of his life. Good books had been his constant
companions, and an old-fashioned cane-bottomed rocking chair his
favourite seat upon the piazza or by the kitchen fire. Abner Stiles
had done the necessary farm work and the household chores. When the
Deacon passed away, the town lost one of its broadest-minded, most
honest, most helpful citizens.
Mrs. Mason, still hale and hearty, assisted her daughter in her
household duties, but allowed Abner to put up the clothes line and
take it in.
"And this is his son, and his poor father--" The Deacon's good wife
could say no more, but clasped little Quincy close to her motherly
"You told me how it happened, Huldy, and I told father, but it don't
seem real even now. His father was such a fine man."
She stopped, for her daughter had turned her head away, and her
mother knew that it was to brush away some tears that could not be
To 'Zekiel Pettingill, the boy was Alice's child. His only sister had
been the apple of his eye, and his great, honest heart welcomed the
boy as if he were his own.
His own son, Quincy Adams Pettingill, was in his fourteenth year and
upon him devolved the outdoor education of his young cousin. In this
pleasant task he was aided by his sister Sophie who was a year
younger than the newcomer.
There was a scene of wild excitement when young Quincy paid his first
visit to the old Pettingill place where his mother was born. It was
still the home of Hiram Maxwell and his wife, formerly Mandy Skinner.
The two boys, Abraham Mason Maxwell and Obadiah Strout Maxwell had
been told often the story of Mr. Sawyer's visit to Eastborough, and
how he boarded in that house, and little Mandy was glad to see
The old dog, Swiss, had, with difficulty, been dragged from the grave
of his former master, Uncle Ike, but no force, or persuasion, could
induce him to leave the old house. Probably the name "Quincy" had a
familiar sound and he wagged his tail slowly as an evidence of
recognition and welcome.
The most explosive greeting came from Mrs. Crowley.
"An' it's the foine young man he is, the picter of his feyther." She
would have taken him in her arms and hugged him but for the presence
of others, but, afterwards, when alone with him she patted his curly
head and told him that he would have to be a fine man to be as good
as his father. Everywhere he went his father was talked about and
praised, and his mother had taught him to love his father's memory.
Thus early the ambition to be like his father was instilled in the
boy's mind. Confident as Alice was that her husband was still living,
Aunt Ella had protested effectually against her implanting any such
hope in the child's mind, and he had been brought up with the belief
that his father had died before he was born. There was one place
where his father's praises were faint, and that was at the grocery
[ILLUSTRATION: "'I S'POSE ONE OF THESE DAYS YOU'LL BE WEIGHIN' SUGAR
AND DRAWIN' 'LASSES.'"]
"Ah, my young man," said Mr. Obadiah Strout, on his first visit,
"your father's money started this business, but I've worked mighty
hard to build it up to what it is now. I s'pose one of these days
you'll be weighin' sugar and drawin' 'lasses."
"I guess not," exclaimed Hiram. "Rich men's sons don't us'ally take
to their father's business."
"You're right for once, Hiram," Mr. Strout acknowledged. "They uzally
run through the money, bust the biz'ness and bring up in jail."
"Well, this young fellow won't," cried Hiram, hotly. "He's goin' to
be a great man like his father, won't you, Bub?"
"Bub" took a handful of raisins from an open box, and eyed his
"There's many a slip 'twixt the cow and the churn," said Mr. Strout
as he took a ten cent cigar from the case and lighted it. Perhaps the
sight of the son recalled a scene in the same shop many years before
on Quincy's first visit to Mason's Corner when a box of cigars had
been the subject of an animated discussion between the boy's father
and himself, followed by a passage-at-arms--or, more correctly
speaking--fists. We humans are only veneered with politeness or good
nature; underneath, man's revengeful nature lies dormant--but not
Mrs. Hawkins was delighted to see him. "Olive, don't you think he's
the likeness of his father?"
Olive agreed, because she had found that agreement with her
employer's opinions made life pleasant, and also led to many
desirable additions to her wardrobe.
Mrs. Hawkins surveyed him again. "I'll never forget what a poor
appetite his father had when he boarded here. He never came to his
meals reg'lar. But he was in love, head over heels an' an extry dip,--
an' I don't blame him, for 'Zeke Pettingill's sister was good enough
for any man, even if he did git to be guv'nor. Have a cookey?" and
Quincy's pockets were filled with cakes that contained raisins and
"Them's seedless raisins, Quincy. I had a boarder once, a reg'lar
hayseed who came down here from Montrose to work hayin' time, an' he
asked me how I got the stuns out of the raisins. Jes' to fool him, I
said I bit 'em out, an' do you know, that old fool never teched
another bit o' cake while he stopped here."
Mr. Jonas Hawkins took him out to see the hens and chickens, and told
him that he "kalkilated that mos' on 'em eggs that was bein' sot on
would hatch out." Quincy's great delight was going with Hiram in the
grocery wagon. One day they went over the same road from the
Pettingill farm to Eastborough Centre that his father had travelled
so many times.
The old sign board "Three Miles to Mason's Corner" was still there,
but how changed the other conditions. No consumptive uncle in the
Poor House, no philosophical Uncle Ike living in a chicken coop, no
inquisitive Mrs. Putnam, no mysterious Lindy, no battle royal with
the music teacher, no town meeting to engineer, no grocery store to
buy, no Deacon's daughter to go driving with, no singing school, no
surprise party, no blind girl to comfort and aid--and finally marry.
There were none of the incidents that had made his father's life at
Mason's Corner so exciting and interesting. Now, there was only a
little boy riding in a red wagon with yellow wheels, inhaling the
pure air and sweetness of the wild flowers, listening to the songs of
birds, and wishing that Uncle Hiram would make the horse go faster.
It is safe to leave him with his father's friends, for surely his
lines had fallen in a pleasant place.
AN OLD STRIFE RENEWED
It was February and the air was stinging cold. It was one of those
nights such as Lowell wrote about in "The Courtin'."
"God makes sech nights, all white an' still
Fur'z you can look or listen,
Moonshine an' snow on field an' hill,
All silence an' all glisten."
In the store of the Strout and Maxwell Company quite a number of the
town's people were gathered about the big air-tight stove which was
kept stuffed full of wood by willing hands and from which came great
waves of almost scorching heat.
Such congregations of villagers are often said to be composed of
loafers and loungers, but it was not so at Fernborough. The men who
represented the brains and marrow of the town met there. It was the
home of the town debating society and supplied a free forum for the
discussion of public questions. If the advanced ideas in
statesmanship and social economy incubated there could have become
the property of the nation, our country would have grown wiser and
But for the intense cold the company gathered there on the evening in
question would have been much larger. Benoni Hill, the former
proprietor of the store and the richest man in town, did not think
his wealth was any reason why he should hold aloof or consider
himself above his neighbours, whose patronage had been the foundation
of his fortune. He was given an old arm-chair while the others sat
upon soap-boxes and nail-kegs. Cobb's Twins, William and James, were
there, Emmanuel Howe, the minister's son, and Bob Wood who still sang
bass in the village church choir.
The store door was opened letting in a gust of cold air which made
all draw nearer to the red-hot stove. The newcomer was Samuel Hill,
A chorus of voices cried: "Hello, Sam!" and a place was made for him
so he could thaw out his almost frozen fingers.
"It's mighty cold, ain't it?" said his father.
"Well, I should smile," replied Sam. This expression he had heard the
last time he was in the city, and he derived great pleasure from its
"How's Tilly?" asked Bob Wood.
"Able to be up and have her bed made."
All laughed at the rejoinder. Smiles and laughter are easily evoked
in a village grocery.
Mr. Obadiah Strout and Mr. Hiram Maxwell, general partners, were in
the private office, a small room adjoining the post-office. Mr.
Strout was smoking a cigar and reading a letter between the puffs.
Hiram, with his chair tilted back against the wall, was smoking his
after-supper pipe, for it was after seven o'clock in the evening.
"Mr. Maxwell," said Obadiah, laying down the letter he had been
reading, "this is from the trustees of the estate of the Honourable
Quincy Adams Sawyer, formerly our special partner, and the ex-
Governor of this Commonwealth. I mention the fact of him being our
former special partner first, before I said anything about his
political elevation, for I don't believe, Mr. Maxwell, that he would
ever have been Governor if he hadn't jined in with us."
Mr. Strout always called Hiram "Mr. Maxwell," when they talked over
Hiram blew a cloud from his pipe. "Wall, I guess they're putty well
satisfied with what we've been doin', ain't they?"
Mr. Strout leaned back in his chair with a self-satisfied look on his
"Wall, they must be a pretty near set if they expect more'n twelve
per cent, on the capital. No, they're all right, 'though one of 'em,
that Mr. Merry, is mighty inquisitive 'bout small things. Marryin'
inter the Sawyer family 'counts for it, I s'pose."
Hiram was used to hearing covert slurs and open flings at the Sawyer
family, but had found replies only provocative of attacks upon
himself, so he listened in silence. Mr. Strout took up the letter. "I
wrote 'em 'bout startin' that new branch over to Westvale, and
although they answered in a kinder top-lofty style--I reckon that
young Merry writ the letter--I 'magine they're in for it, horse,
foot, and dragoons. They'll put up the money. An' the question now is
who'll go over and take charge of it."
Hiram put his pipe on the table. "There's two folks that don't want
to go, an' that's Mandy an' me. I don't s'pose the children would
find any fault, but they're not old enough to vote on the question."
Hiram knew that his partner was anxious to get him out of the
Fernborough store, and so he filed his objections at once.
"Oh," said Strout, "of course I didn't have no sech idee as askin'
you to go, even if you did know who was the best man for the job. The
snail thinks he's travelled a long ways when he goes a foot, an' some
men are jus' like him."
Hiram ignored the personal application.
"Well, bein's you didn't want me to go, I s'pose you've somebody in
mind. Suit yourself, as us'al."
"Well, I've thought it all over, an' I think Billy Ricker's our man.
He'll be over from Montrose to-morrow an' I'll talk it over with him.
We've got that Montrose trade so solid he can be spared from there
now. Guess there ain't any trade tonight or Bob would have called us
in afore this."
"Ef we sold cord wood we might be doin' somethin'," and, laughing in
his old way at his own joke, Hiram started to follow his partner into
"Say, Hiram," called out Strout in a loud voice, "bring in them two
chairs--everything's occupied out here 'cept the counter."
As the proprietors took their seats, the store door was opened again,
this time admitting Mr. Abner Stiles. His teeth were chattering, and
he stamped his feet upon the floor, and beat his hands against his
shoulders in old-fashioned country style.
"Moses Williams!" he cried. "I kinder think the North Pole must have
slid down an' come to stop in this 'ere town. I say, Strout, if that
organ of yourn was pumped to-night you'd have to play 'From
Greenland's Icy Mountains,' or some sech tune."
"Where have you been?" asked Mr. Strout.
"Hain't been nowhere. Jes' came from the Pettingill house. Young
Master Sawyer wants some brown sugar to make some candy. Give me five
"So it's Master Sawyer, is it?" said Strout as he weighed the
saccharine substance. "I thought it was Mister before a man was a
"I ain't a talkin' about men--he's only a boy, and a mighty smart boy
"I'm tired hearing about him," said Strout. "Can't you give us
"Yes, I kin," said Abner. "Boys, I've got something funny to tell
you. I went to Cottonton this afternoon and I'd jest got back when
they sent me for the sugar."
"What ye doin' over there?" asked Benoni.
Abner scratched his head then winked at Benoni.
"I went to buy somethin' for an individual who shall be nameless out
"Go on with your story," shouted Strout. "You'd better hurry home
with that sugar or the 'Master' may make it hot for you."
This remark caused a laugh at Abner's expense.
"Jes' go ahead, Abner," said Benoni, "we're all a-waitin'."
"Well, I met a feller on the train and he buzzed me all the way here.
He wanted to know where I lived, an' when I told him I lived in
Fernborough, that used to be a part of Eastborough, he jest piled me
full of questions. I told him all I knew--"
"An' added a little something" broke in Strout.
"No, I jest stuck close to the truth. He wanted to know about Mr.
Quincy Adams Sawyer. I told him he was dead, but he said he wanted to
know about him when he lived here. Then I told him there was a man in
town who could tell him more'n I could about that, an' I jest giv'
him your name, Obadiah."
This sally turned the laugh on Strout who was about to make a sharp
rejoinder, when the store door opened and a strong current of cold
air caused all to turn.
"Shut the door!" cried Bob Wood in his gruff voice.
"I beg your pardon," said the man, as he complied.
He was very tall,--more than six feet in height. He was dressed in a
suit of shiny black; his coat was buttoned tightly and the collar was
turned up. The most noticeable part of his costume was a broad-
brimmed straw hat. He wore no overcoat and his hands were ungloved.
"Gentlemen, I must beg pardon for this intrusion, but I used to live
in these parts many years ago, and I am here to inquire whether any
of my family are awaiting the return of a long-lost relative."
Abner nudged Mr. Strout and said in a whisper: "That's the feller."
"What might your name be?" asked Mr. Benoni Hill in his genial
"I have occupied many stations in life, and whether high or low have
always assumed a cognomen to match my position."
"A cog what?" asked Bill Cobb in a voice so low that he thought only
his brother Jim could hear; but his question reached the stranger's
"By cognomen I mean a desirable _alias_ or a characteristic
This explanation gave rise to a chorus of "Oh's."
"Kerzactly," remarked Benoni, and then all laughed.
"When I left this town thirty years ago, my name was Richard Ricker.
On returning to those paths which my childish feet so often trod--I
have just come from the West Indies where the climate is hotter than
that stove--it seems appropriate that I should assume my family name.
It is done. I am now Richard Ricker."
Abner nudged Strout again, who resented it, but Mr. Stiles remarked
in a whisper: "He's crazy--mad as a March hare."
Mr. Ricker did not hear his opinion of his sanity.
"My father's name was Benjamin, Martha was my mother, and I had a
brother William--that is, I had them all when I ran away to sea at
the age of seventeen years, ten months, and fifteen days. I always
remember my exact age for I wished to know just how long I had been
gone when I got back."
The villagers looked at the stranger with marked variations in
expression, but no one spoke until Abner remarked:
"I guess you've struck the right place. There's a young feller named
Billy Ricker that works for Mr. Strout here," and he pointed to that
gentleman. "Billy's father was named Bill, but he's dead; so's Ben
and Marthy. I know'd 'em all."
"I am glad to learn that I have a nephew in the land of the living.
Where is he?"
"He lives in Montrose, the next town north of us," said Mr. Strout.
"We have a branch store there an' Billy has charge of it."
"If he had some capital, I suppose he could become a partner,"
remarked Mr. Ricker.
"Not much," said Strout. "We have all the money we need, and know
where to get more. What we want is men, an' we have a good one in
Mr. Ricker removed his unseasonable headgear and moved nearer to the
"I have heard of the late Mr. Sawyer and was sorry to hear of his
early demise." He looked at Abner, then at Mr. Strout.
"Your friend here has told me about his wonderful exploits--how he
thrashed the town bully, and beat the singing-master at his own
Bob Wood and Strout glared at Abner.
"But his experiences, which I have been told have appeared in print,"
the stranger continued, "are trifling compared with the perils and
adventures which have fallen to my lot. I could make your blood run
"Ef we open the front door, I guess the weather will do that," said
Hiram, and it was the general opinion, though not verbally expressed,
that Hiram had got one on the stranger.
Mr. Emmanuel Howe, the clergyman's son, was noted for his extreme
politeness. He had attended one term at a divinity school before he
met Miss Dixie Schaffer. He arose from the nail-keg upon which he had
been sitting, and motioned for the stranger to take his place.
As he accepted the mute invitation, Mr. Ricker turned to the company
and said: "Gentlemen, shall I intrude upon your time if I relate just
one of my adventures?"
"Oh, go ahead," said Strout. "It's our rule to let a man talk until
we get enough, and then--"
He raised his right foot, suddenly.
"I understand," said Mr. Ricker. "When I was about twenty-two years
old our vessel was wrecked and I, the only one saved, was cast ashore
on a cannibal island--or, to be more correct ethnologically, an
island inhabited by cannibals. I was a handsome young fellow, and it
is not at all surprising that the Queen, who was young, unmarried,
and, fortunately, very pretty, fell in love with me and wished to
become my wife.
"But the Prime Minister, or Great Panjandrum, as he was called,
wished his son to marry the Queen and become King, so he, and his
minions planned to get rid of me.
"Lola-Akwa, that was the Queen's name, discovered the plot, and
resolved to save me.
"You all read your Bibles, and you will remember that in the olden
days there were places that were called 'Cities of Refuge.' On that
island there was a Tree of Refuge. It was at least one hundred feet
high and for two hundred feet from it, in every direction, not a tree
or shrub could be found. This open space gave the pursuers a fine
chance for an arrow shot before the refugee reached the tree.
"Lola-Akwa told me to climb to the top of that tree and stay there
until she sent word for me to come down.
"But the Great Panjandrum discovered my hiding place. The Queen
declared that I was protected by all that was sacred in their
religion, but the Great Panjandrum proved by the cannibal Bible that
only cannibals were entitled to its protection. He said they would
roast a man, and if I would eat him and pick his bones I might go
free. I declined, for I am rather particular about my diet.
"Then the Great Panjandrum seized an axe and struck at the foot of
the tree. Others followed his wicked example and it soon began to
totter. They next tied a rope about the trunk of the tree. The
plotters were sixteen in number--I counted them. They stood in line,
tugging at the rope.
"Lola-Akwa stood far back awaiting the terrible moment of my death. I
could see that her eyes were filled with tears. The tree fell, and I
went flying through the air--to certain death!
"When I came to, I found myself clasped in Lola-Akwa's arms. 'Where
am I?' I asked. 'Look' she said. I did, and learned the wonderful
"The Great Tree had fallen upon the Great Panjandrum and his fifteen
conspirators and killed them all."
For a moment there was silence, then a chorus of voices exclaimed:
"Did you marry the Queen?"
The stranger pressed his hand upon his forehead.
"No. If I remember correctly some one held an ace and took my Queen."
He rose from the nail-keg.
"I'm hungry. I would like some supper and a bed for the night. To-
morrow I will embrace my only living relative. Is there a boarding
house in town?"
"Somethin' better'n that," said Abner. "We've got a Hotel--the
Hawkins House. Mrs. Hawkins keeps it. I'm going along that way and
I'll interduce you. She's a pretty good talker herself," and Abner
winked with both eyes as they went out.
"Well," said Benoni, as the door closed after them. "The Bible says
Ananias was a pretty good story teller, but that gentleman seems to
have added some modern improvements."
"He's a cussed liar," said Bob Wood.
"And if Mrs. Hawkins is smart she'll make him pay in advance."
The door was thrown open full width and two men rushed in.
"Have you seen him?" cried one.
"Seen who?" asked Strout.
"He's tall--black clothes--had on a straw hat--"
"Who in thunder is he?" cried Strout.
"He's a lunatic--just escaped from the asylum. We tracked him to this
"He's gone to the hotel," said Bob Wood. "You can nab him easy there.
I'll show you the way."
The men started on the run, led by Bob Wood, and followed by all who
had been enjoying the hospitality afforded by the soap-boxes, nail-
kegs, and the red-hot stove.
"What beats me," said Hiram, "is how he knew all about the Ricker
"Simple enough," said Strout with a sneer, "That ass Abner told him
the whole business. He never could keep his mouth shet. That's the
reason I wouldn't give him a job in this store."
Mr. Strout extinguished some of the lights, locked the door, and
resumed his seat by the stove.
"Ain't you going home?" asked Hiram.
"Not jest yet; I've some thinkin' to do. I don't take much stock in
fightin' but I'd like to punch Abner Stiles' head."
"What's he been doing?"
"Why, didn't you hear what he said he said to that crazy fellow about
Sawyer getting the best of me at my own game?"
"Wall, he told the truth, didn't he, Strout?"
"Look here, Mr. Hiram Maxwell, I want you to understand that if we
are to continue together as partners in this 'ere grocery business,
there must be mutual respect atween us."
"Wall," said Hiram, "I s'pose you mean by that, that ef I ain't what
you consider respec'ful to you, you'll get out and leave me the
business. You see, Obadiah, it's not for you or me to say who'll stay
in--that's for the trustees. So, I wouldn't lay down the law too
"Wall, I hoped," said Strout, "that when that Sawyer married 'Zeke
Pettingill's sister and left this town that we'd be able to have a
little peace round here and run things our own way. Course, I don't
want any man to get drowned, but it wasn't my fault that the ship he
was on ran into another. He was allus runnin' into somethin' that
didn't concern him. But bein' he's gone, and no blame can be laid at
my door, I thought we'd heard the last of him, but since he's died
the air's fuller of Sawyer than it was afore. It makes me sick the
way everybody tumbles over themselves to make of that boy of his'n. I
don't think there's much to him."
"He's got a big head, an' he's a mighty bright little fellow," said
"Wall, then he resembles his father in one respect--_he_ had a big
"I'm surprised, Obadiah, to hear you talk the way you do. I ain't
forgot that meetin' in the Town Hall where you got up and owned up
that he was 'bout right, and thet you'd been mean as dirt, but he
shook hands with you, and forgave you like a gentleman as he was, and
I thought you were good friends."
"I'm good friends with anybody that keeps out of my way," said
Strout. "But that Sawyer was like that _malary_ that the boys got off
to war. It gets into your blood and you can't get it out. Why, he
snubbed 'Zeke Pettingill jest the same as he did me when they had
that sleigh ride, and he didn't have spunk enough to hit back. If
'Zeke had jined in with me we'd had him out o' town lively. And then
the way he butted in at my concert and turned a high-class musical
entertainment inter a nigger minstrel show by whistling a tune vas
enough to make anybody mad clean through."
"Wall, you got mad, didn't you?" said Hiram. "What good did it do
Mr. Strout's newly aroused wrath was not appeased.
"Then again, the way he squeezed himself in at that surprise party.
Since I married Bessie Chisholm, I've talked to her a good many times
'bout the way she danced with him that night."
"Come now, Strout, what did she say? She wasn't engaged to you then.
What did she say? Now be honest."
Mr. Strout could not restrain a grim smile.
"Wall, to tell the truth, Hiram, she told me it was none of my
business, an' when I came to think it over I didn't believe it was--
but it would be now."
Mr. Strout's vials of wrath had not all been emptied. He seemed to be
enjoying a rehearsal of all his past troubles and grievances.
"I guess that if the folks had known at first that the Jim Sawyer who
died in the Poor House was his uncle, they wouldn't have considered
him such great shucks after all. An' the way he tried to get Huldy
Mason to marry him and throw over 'Zeke Pettingill, who had loved her
ever since she was a baby, was a mighty mean piece of business in my
This remark gave Hiram an opportunity which he was not slow in
"I heerd as how there was another feller in town who tried to get
Huldy to marry him and throw poor 'Zeke over."
Mr. Strout puckered up his mouth and there was a strained look on his
face which indicated that the shot had gone home. But his verbal
ammunition was not all expended.
"You can tell me what you've a mind to, but I know that he tried
mighty hard to get Lindy Putnam to marry him, an' I don't imagine
he'd have taken up with a blind girl if he hadn't heard that Heppy
Putnam was going to leave her all her money. I had him looked up by
some friends of mine in the city. They said he didn't have much
himself, but his father paid his bills. His father jest gave him to
understand that if he didn't marry the right girl, with plenty of
dough, he wouldn't get much from him."
"Wall, you may be right and you may be wrong, Obadiah. But when a
man's dead I don't think it does you any good to roast him and pick
his bones. It's too much like those _cannibiles_ that crazy feller
told us about. Quincy Adams Sawyer was always a good friend to me,
and a better one to you, Strout, than you deserved, judgin' from the
way you've been talkin'. His money has been the makin' of both on us,
and while we do business together I hope we'll let Mr. Sawyer, as the
church folks say, rest in pieces."
BOYHOOD TO MANHOOD
Until he was fourteen years of age, young Quincy attended the public
schools in Fernborough and Cottonton. While in England he had had a
governess and later a tutor, so that when he reached America he was
much farther advanced than Fernborough boys of his own age. Methods
in the New England town were different, however, and his Uncle
Ezekiel was satisfied to have him keep pace with the others, and not
arouse antagonism by asking for any special promotion.
Ezekiel's son Quincy had decided to become a farmer, following in his
father's footsteps. But scientific farming was supplanting old
methods, and he had taken the course at the Agricultural College and
received his diploma.
Young Quincy wished a college education. To obtain admission it was
necessary for him to attend a preparatory school, and, relying upon
Mr. Gay's description of its advantages, Andover was selected.
While at the Cottonton High School, Quincy's chum had been a boy two
years older than himself, named Thomas Chripp. He was the son of a
weaver at Cottonton. Like Quincy, he had been born in England, but
his father had been drawn to America by the lure of higher wages,
nothing having been said to him, however, about the increased cost of
Thomas's father would not let him become a back-boy in the mill.
"I've breathed cotton all my life," said Mr. Chripp to Ezekiel, "and
I think too much of my only boy to condemn him to a life in a hot
room, where the only music is the whizzing shuttles. No, my boy Tom
shall breathe God's fresh air and become a big, strong man instead of
a wizened-up little fellow like me. Why, would you believe it, Mr.
Pettingill, I began work in a cotton mill when I was eight years old,
and I've lived in one ever since--forty years! Sundays when I walk
out in the fields I can't get the din out of my ears, and I told
Susan, my old wife, the other day, that if I died before she did to
have the lid screwed down extra tight so I could be sure of a little
"My nephew," said 'Zekiel, "thinks a lot of your boy and wants him to
go to college with him."
"But I haven't got the money to pay his way," said Mr. Chripp.
"My nephew has plenty of money, and if he's willing to help your boy
along in the world there's nobody to object that I know of."
So it was arranged that Tom Chripp should go to the preparatory
school and college with Quincy, the latter to pay the expenses of
both. "'Twas a lucky day for Tom that sent that Sawyer boy to school
in Cottonton," said Mr. Chripp to his wife.
"It'll be the making of Tom," he added, and the happy mother thought
When Mr. Strout heard of it, he remarked to his partner Mr. Maxwell,
"More of the arrogance of wealth. If I was a young man like Tom
Chripp I'd make my own way in the world."
Hiram swallowed some smoke, coughed, and then replied: "Probably he
will, when he gits his eddikation. Money makes the mare go now as it
always has, Obadiah, an' you an' me can't stop it."
"Like father, like son, I guess, Hiram. His father used to enjoy
throwing his money away an' the son's goin' to sail in the same boat.
I shouldn't be surprised if he came back to town some day and licked
somebody jest to be like his father."
"I shouldn't nuther," said Hiram as he began putting up an order for
the Hawkins House.
While Quincy was attending the public schools, Mrs. Nathaniel Sawyer
made two visits each year to Fernborough to learn of her grandson's
progress. Thanksgiving he passed at his Uncle 'Zekiel's where he had
eagerly watched the growth of the turkey that was destined to grace
the festal board on that day. At Christmas he went to Boston and
returned laden with gifts, many of which were immediately donated to
his cousins and Mandy Maxwell's children.
Mr. Strout's ire was kindled when Hiram described the presents his
children had received from Quincy.
"Thank the Lord I've got money enough to buy my children's presents
myself without dependin' on second-hand things that other folks don't
"So've I," said Hiram, "but what I save that way I puts in the bank,
for I'm bound to own the old Pettingill Place some day."
"Oh, spend your money, Hiram. Your rich friends will give you the
house some day." He was so pleased with the subtle humour of his last
remark that he tossed a scoop half full of coffee into the sugar
barrel, much to Hiram's amusement.
During Quincy's first year at Andover he was twice called from his
studies. The Hon. Nathaniel Adams Sawyer after his return home from a
bank directors' banquet was taken with an attack of acute
indigestion. He was in great pain. One of the most prominent
physicians in the city was summoned. He gave a strong hypodermic
injection of morphine to stop the pain, but did nothing to remove the
cause. The pain itself was stopped by the anodyne, but the cause of
the pain--the indigestion--stopped the beating of Mr. Sawyer's heart
within an hour.
By his will, $250,000 were left to his daughter Florence, and
$100,000 to his daughter Maude. To compensate for the $150,000
difference in the bequests, the Hon. Nathaniel Sawyer's interest in
the firm of Sawyer, Crowninshield, and Lawrence was conveyed to Mr.
Harry Merry, provided that one-third of his share from the income of
the law-business was paid to the trustees of the estate of his
grandson Quincy Adams Sawyer. The remainder of his property, both
real and personal, was left to his wife, Sarah Quincy Sawyer.
Quincy's grandmother did not live long to enjoy her fortune. Maude
wished her to sell the Beacon Street house and come to Mount Vernon
Street. Her mother wished her to come to Beacon Street. While the
_pros_ and _cons_ were being considered, the old lady died of
absolute inanition. She had been dominated so long by a superior will
power, she had been so dependent upon her late husband in every event
of her life, that without him she was a helpless creature, and so
willing to drop her burden, that she did not cling to life but gave
up without the semblance of a struggle. Her last will and testament
was very short, containing but one clause, which gave all her
property to her grandson Quincy Adams Sawyer. When Aunt Ella heard of
her sister's death, she said to Alice:
"They were not two distinct beings, Nathaniel was one and a half, and
Sarah only a half."
"That boy will sure go to the devil now," was Mr. Strout's comment.
"I don't think so," said Hiram. "He's too much like his father."
"How do you know where his father has gone?" snapped Mr. Strout, who
did not believe, evidently, that good works were a sure passport to
Quincy's vacation after his first year at Andover was passed at
Fernborough. He was warmly welcomed and congratulated upon the great
fortune that had fallen to him.
"He's got a big head, sure enough," said Mr. Strout, "but I think
he's a little weak in the legs. He won't disgust the community by
fightin' as his father did."
"I wish he'd thrash Bob Wood's son--he's too impudent to live," said
Mrs. Amanda Maxwell, to whom Mr. Strout had addressed his remark.
"No danger o' that," and Mr. Strout laughed gleefully. "Young Bob's
as good with his fists as his father was."
"He didn't amount to much when Mr. Sawyer tackled him," and with a
scornful laugh Mrs. Maxwell flounced out of the store.
"Your wife's as bad as the rest on 'em, Hiram."
"Yes, Obadiah; it seems to be whoopedemic, as the doctors say."
Quincy's second and third years at Andover passed quickly and again
vacation time had come.
"Let's go to Fernborough as usual," said Quincy, and Tom, without
argument, seconded the motion. This time, Tom was Quincy's guest.
They were young men now. Quincy was seventeen and Tom nineteen, but
the fields were as green, the fruit as sweet, the vegetables as crisp
and fresh, and their friends as glad to see them as when they were
A year had brought some changes. Mrs. Maxwell mourned the loss of her
son Obadiah, who had been gored by an angry bull and found dead in
the West pasture. For a wonder, Mr. Strout showed some sympathy,
perhaps because the little boy was his namesake.
The Rev. Caleb Howe had passed away. In his place the church had
called the Rev. Hudson Quarles, a bachelor of forty, whose hobby was
fancy fowls. He joined the Grange and talked on "Poultry Raising" and
"A Small Fortune in Squabs." His hens were the heaviest for their age
in the community, and to prove it he was always willing to "weigh up"
at the grocery store.
Mr. Strout called him a crank and played a joke on him that led to a
division in the church and came near costing Mr. Strout his position
There were two scales on the long grocery counter. Mr. Strout
tampered with one of them by affixing two pounds of lead to it which
he covered with gold paint to hide the deception.
Bob Wood's hen was weighed in the fraudulent scales and beat Mr.
Quarles' by a half pound, the clergyman's being really a pound and a
half the heavier. The plot would have been a success but for the
keen-eyed Quincy who examined the scales and discovered the
Mr. Strout declared it was all a joke and that he was going to own up
when he got ready to do so. This explanation was accepted by some and
scoffed at by others. Naturally, Mr. Strout looked upon Quincy as a
"By Godfrey!" he exclaimed to Hiram, "either that Sawyer boy or me
has got to leave town." "When are yer goin'?" asked Hiram, quietly,
but he got no reply.
Miss Dixie Schaffer retired from the stage and settled down. Her
mother-in-law, being an invalid confined to her room, prevented any
interference in her household affairs, and she was free from
suggestions as to what she should give, and what she shouldn't give
her son, who had been named Hugh after her own father.
Many new people had moved into the town. Among the newcomers was a
former detective on the Boston police force named Horace Dana.
Through an injury received in making an important arrest, he had
become a cripple, able to get around only slowly and with crutches.
He was a widower with one daughter, about fifteen years of age, named
The young lady was as old in appearance as many girls of eighteen,
and her looks so belied her age, that the village beaux paid court to
her at once. Her most persistent suitor was young Bob Wood who had
just reached his majority.
As she was walking one day in the Center Road, far from any dwelling,
she met Bob. He improved the opportunity by asking her to be his
"Why, Mr. Wood, I'm too young to marry."
"But I'm just old enough," said Bob, "and you suit me exactly."
"Mr. Wood, I'm going to tell you the truth. I'm not yet fifteen years
old. Father says I can't have a beau till I'm eighteen, and I'm sure
I don't want one."
Bob had learned much street slang during his visits to Cottonton, and
considered its acquisition a benefit and its use an accomplishment.
"You've said it. Now sneeze it, and dust your brain."
Mary regarded him with astonishment. "I don't understand such
language, Mr. Wood. What do you mean? I haven't a cold in my head."
Bob laughed insolently.
"No, but you've got a cold heart. What I meant by my French was that
you're bluffing. If you ain't eighteen, I'm a primary school boy."
"Then you don't believe me!" Mary's blue eyes opened to their fullest
Bob thought those blue eyes and light brown hair, golden in the
sunlight, those rosy cheeks, and pretty mouth made a most attractive
picture, and, in his rough way, he really loved her.
"I'm going home," said Mary, "and I shall tell my father you said I
lied to you."
"No, you don't," cried Bob, and he grasped her arm so tightly that
she winced. "You don't go until you promise me not to say anything to
"I won't promise!" Hot tears filled her eyes.
"Then you don't go," and Bob tightened his grip.
The next moment a hand clutched his coat collar and he was thrown
violently on his back.
Bob, who was agile, was quickly on his feet again and faced his
assailant. "Oh, that's you, Sawyer, is it? Why do you interfere with
what's none of your business?"
"I think it is," said Quincy, calmly. "My, friend and I--" He turned,
and at that moment Tom emerged from behind a clump of bushes at the
"My friend and I," Quincy repeated, "were behind those bushes and
overheard your insulting language to this young lady and your brutal
treatment of her."
"Hiding to see what you could hear," said Bob, sneeringly.
"Not at all. We came 'cross lots and were just stepping into the road
when we espied you, and retreated, awaiting your departure."
"Very prettily said, Master Sawyer, but I don't believe a word of
"You called this young lady a liar and she was powerless to resent
it, but I'm not. Tom, hold my coat."
"Oh, please don't fight," pleaded Mary. "I'll never speak to him
"Say, Quincy," exclaimed Tom, "he's too heavily built for you. Let me
"Two to one! I s'pose that's what you city snobs call fair play."
Bob removed his coat and threw it on the ground. "If you'll come one
at a time, I'll lick you both."
Quincy addressed Mary. "Don't be distressed. You may pardon his
offence to you if you choose, but I'm going to settle my personal
account with him. He doubted my word. I'm going to make him believe
what I said, and by that time he'll be ready to apologize to you."
Bob squared off, but Quincy did not raise his hands.
"Are you 'fraid? Don't you know how to put up your dukes?"
"I'm not a boxer," said Quincy, "if that's what you mean. I'll look
out for myself, rough and tumble."
Bob rushed forward and aimed a blow at Quincy's face. It fell short,
for Quincy retreated; then, springing forward, he gave Bob a violent
kick on his left knee. As his opponent threw his right leg over to
keep his balance he was obliged to lean forward; Quincy caught him by
the collar and Bob went sprawling upon the ground. He leaped to his
feet, red with rage.
"Why don't you fight fair?" he bellowed.
"You fight your way and I'll fight mine," was Quincy's reply.
"All right," cried Bob, "I'll try your way."
He sprang upon Quincy and grabbed him by the collar with both hands
and pulled him forward. This just suited Quincy, for, catching Bob
around the legs, he lifted him high in the air and threw him
backwards over his head. Bob's face was cut and bleeding, when he
"Time's up," cried Tom. "Three straight falls settle it."
"The first one don't count," growled Bob. "He sneaked in on me and I
had no show."
"He's right, Tom," said Quincy. "We'll have one more after this if he
This time Bob profited by having observed his antagonist's tactics.
He caught Quincy around the body and tried to crush him with his
brawny, muscular arms.
Tom gave a cry of alarm and came close to the wrestlers.
"Keep back, Tom," cried Quincy. As he spoke he fell backwards,
carrying Bob with him, who gave a yell of exultation as Quincy's
shoulders struck the ground. His hold was relaxed while falling.
Quincy doubled his legs up, put both feet against Bob's stomach, gave
him a violent kick, and Bob was once more upon his back.
"'Twarn't fair," he yelled. "I had him down first."
"We weren't playing for points," said Quincy, "and everything's fair
in rough and tumble. If you want some more, I'm ready."
Bob stood sullenly, but made no move forward.
"Now, let's talk it over," said Tom. "Do you think this young lady or
my friend lied to you? Before you answer, just remember this is my
fight now, and unless you take back the lie and apologize for what
you said and did to this young lady, I'll thrash you so they'll have
to send a wagon to carry you home."
Bob did not speak.
"Quincy," said Tom, "you go along with the young lady, and I'll
settle my account after you're gone. You look a little white around
the gills. You had no right to fight a heavy-weight like him."
"I wish to thank you both," said Mary, "but I'm a stranger in this
town--I have lived here only a few months, and--I don't know your
She blushed prettily and the lids modestly covered the blue eyes. The
three had moved along the road a short distance while she was
"My name is Quincy Adams Sawyer, and this is my friend and classmate
at Andover, Thomas Chripp."
The lids were lifted but the blush deepened. "My name is Mary Dana. I
live with my father on Pettingill Street."
"Why," cried Quincy, "Ezekiel Pettingill is my uncle--I live with
him. I'm going home your way, and, with your permission, I will
escort you to your father's house."
"All right, Quincy--you go ahead," said Tom. "But you must excuse me.
I've kept Mr. Wood waiting."
They were around a bend in the road by this time. When Tom returned
to the scene of the encounter, Mr. Wood was not in sight. Mr. Chripp
laughed, and paraphrased an old couplet.
"He who fights, then runs away,
Will have to fight some other day."
Quincy walked beside Mary, but said little. He would not acknowledge
it, but the exertion had been too much for him. His knees felt weak,
his sight grew dim, and, before Mary was aware of his condition, he
sank upon the grass by the roadside.
She knelt beside him, took off his straw hat and fanned him. Then she
lifted his head upon her knee and fanned more vigorously. Her big
blue eyes were gazing at him when he opened his and looked up into
her face. Again, a rosy flush came to her cheeks.
"I'm better now," said he. "I'm not very strong, but I can walk now."
He got up with a show of vigour that did not deceive Mary.
"You rest here, and I'll send your uncle for you with a carriage."
"By no means, Miss Mary, It was only a momentary feeling. Throwing
him over my head is what did it."
"I'm so sorry you met Mr. Wood and me."
"Well, I'm not, Miss Mary. Uncle 'Zeke told me that Bob Wood's father
used to be the town bully, and that my father, when they were both
young, gave him a good thrashing. I've watched Bob--we were in school
together, and he was always impudent and overbearing to me when I was
a little fellow. I've felt that some day we'd have it out together.
I'm glad it's over, and that I had the good fortune to serve you at