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stayed to dinner, and conversed more or that ought to be combated. He felt less with his uncle while Isabella prepared quite sure that Mr. Grundy himself, a man the meal. Uncle Solomon did not seem of simple tastes, would have preferred a at all elated by the appearance of this neat pine coffin to the more elaborate and hitherto unknown and unsuspected relative, expensive velvet-lined casket with silverthough he listened patiently enough to the plated handles and a glass top, of which young man's account of his widowed Isabella had at first thought. She would mother's family, which was large, and her have liked to have the sermon preached circumstances, which were poor, and asked at the colored Methodist church, of which the visitor to call again in case he should Uncle Solomon had been an occasional be passing through the town. The young attendant, though not a regular member; man, according to his own story, was on but the Professor suggested that, as the his way to an institution of higher learning colored cemetery was only a short distance in another town, where he hoped to work from the house, it would be much more his way through. He very gratefully ac- convenient to have the sermon preached cepted a present of five dollars which his at the residence, from which the palluncle extracted, with painful effort, from bearers, if carefully selected for their a wooden chest under the head of his bed. strength, could carry the body directly to The old man subsequently made but the grave, thus saving the expense of a slight reference to his relations, merely re- hearse and carriages, and setting an marking to Isabella that if the boy was a example of simplicity and good taste in a fair specimen of the family, they must be quarter where it was very much needed. very black; that, for his part, he believed Isabella could not dispute the wisdom of in lightening up the breed, and that his a teacher whom she had obeyed as pupil sister had made a serious mistake.
a year before, and whom she was soon to Isabella was not especially interested in obey as a wife; she yielded her own the visitor, and under the pressure of wishes, and carried out the Professor's household cares soon forgot his very exist- ideas, even at the cost of some adverse ence; for her grandpap grew steadily criticism from others. worse from day to day. In the early part The funeral was, nevertheless, largely of June the enemy attacked the citadel of attended. The lawyer, who was among his life; his heart succumbed to the disease, those present, had caused it to be known and he went the way of all the earth, among the near neighbors and intimate including even landed proprietors. The friends of the deceased that he would doctor must have warned him, however, produce and read the will at the house or he had felt some presentiment of his immediately after the interment. At the impending fate; for, a week or two before conclusion of the obsequies, Isabella and his demise, he sent for Mr. Henry Williams, her relatives, the Professor, and several the colored lawyer of the town, and made near neighbors, including the young blacka will in due form, it being necessary to smith, gathered in the sitting-room and devise his property if he wished Isabella waited, with becoming gravity, until Mr. to have it—for, it will be remembered, she Williams produced and read, with profeswas not a blood relation, and her adoption sional unction, the last will and testament had never taken a legal form. The will of Solomon Grundy. The estate, as itemwas left in the lawyer's hands for safe- ized in the will, consisted of the swaykeeping, under a strict injunction of backed house and the land surrounding secrecy as to its contents.
it, one hundred and ten dollars in money, Upon Isabella, as the person standing and a claim of three hundred and seventynearest to the deceased, devolved the five dollars against the defunct Freedman's responsibility for the funeral arrange- Savings Bank. This last item, as the ments. Owing, however, to her youth and lawyer explained, was practically valueinexperience, to say nothing of her very less. The receivers of the bank had paid sincere grief, she relied more or less for one dividend, and there was small prosassistance upon her affianced husband. pect of another. By the terms of the will The Professor counseled a modest funeral; the property, after the payment of debts, he was opposed, he said, to ostentation funeral expenses, and cost of administrain funerals, which was a race weakness tion, was to be sold at private sale, upon
the best terms obtainable, and the pro- be 'feared ter go befo' de jedgment th'one ceeds to go, share and share alike, to wid sech a lie on his lips.” Isabella Reynolds and the ten children of “Please don't talk that way about grandthe decedent's sister, Elizabeth Goins, of pap," replied Isabella. “He was good Tarboro', North Carolina.
to me for many years. He fed and clothed “ This afternoon,” said the lawyer, as and reared my mother, and did the same he folded the paper, “ I shall have the will for me, and neither of us had any claim admitted to probate, and the estate will be upon him. If on his death-bed his consettled as soon as the court shall direct." science smote him because of his poor
Professor Revels, who had listened sister and her children, whom he had neg. closely to the reading of the will, could lected so many years, and he felt that he hardly conceal his chagrin at the disposi- ought to leave something to his own flesh tion of the property. Nevertheless, with and blood, I surely have no good right to an effort at self-control strengthened by complain. They need it quite as much his school-room experience, he mastered as I, and more, for I am going to marry a his feelings sufficiently to take a formal school-teacher and a man of property, who farewell of Isabella, being among the first is able to give me all I need. I owe the to leave. The others did not remain old man nothing but respect and affeclong; the will gave them something to tion, and while I appreciate your good talk about, and it seemed hardly becoming intentions, I'd rather not hear anything to discuss the dead man in the room said against him. If I am satisfied, no where his coffined remains had stood an one else need be troubled." hour before.
Isabella was somewhat disappointed Tom Turner was the last to leave. when the day passed without a visit from
“ I'm sorry, Isabella," he said, holding her lover. She received a note from him her hand meanwhile, “that you should next day, in which he explained that the lose your grandpap. He was a good man, work of preparation for the school examiand we shall all miss him. I know a nation would occupy him for a few days, fellow who would have been glad to do so that he would not intrude upon her all he did for you, and more, if you had grief immediately, but would leave her given him the chance. But he doesn't alone with her sorrow for a little while. bear malice. It isn't always best for us The little while lasted for a week, and to have what we want. If I can be of stretched out into two. Meantime the any use to you, call on me--you haven't court appointed Mr. Williams, the lawyer, far to come.
as administrator of the Grundy estate. Isabella involuntarily contrasted this There being no reason for delay, the magnanimous sympathy with the abrupt property was promptly sold. When the departure of her affianced lover, to the funeral expenses and costs of administradisadvantage of the absent one. She was, tion had been paid, there remained for nevertheless, a sensible girl, and able to distribution among the eleven legatees appreciate the disappointment which so the sum of six hundred and sixty dollars thrifty a young man as the Professor must and some odd cents, or about sixty dollars have felt upon hearing the will. He would each. doubtless be around next day, however, Isabella received this money on Monfor, while the expected inheritance was day morning. She had been notified by not to be despised, he had loved her, she the lawyer, several days before, that the felt, for herself as well, and would return purchaser of the property wished to take to console her in her loneliness and take possession on Wednesday. The two counsel with her about the future.
weeks that had passed since the funeral Several of the neighbors called next had given Isabella ample time for reflecday to see how Isabella took the will, and tion about her lover. When the third day to condole with her over the loss of the after the funeral had passed without his inheritance.
reappearance, she had casually walked by " It's a shame," said one ardent sym- the school-house, but had seen nothing of pathizer, "a burnin' shame. Dat ole Professor Revels. Once again, a few days man's promisin' all dese years ter leabe later, while coming out from the lawyer's you dat house an’ lot. I sh'd think he'd office, where she had called upon business of the estate, she had seen Revels passing there was some mingling of the sexes in upon the opposite side of the street. She the vestibule. Isabella went out by the felt piqued that he should go by without women's door. Her path homeward reseeing her—he had hitherto been able to quired her to turn to the right and pass make out her figure at the distance of half the other door at an angle. She saw the a mile. She did not shed any tears, how- Professor standing by the men's door, and ever, but went thoughtfully on her way. gave him a full and frank look of invita
On the Sunday before the Monday on tion, which she might very properly do, which she received her shrunken legacy, he being her affianced husband. He Isabella went to church. She had not started, came a few steps toward her, put on regular mourning for the old man, hesitated, lifted his hat, and turned back, but was soberly clad, and wore a black as though he had left something in the necktie, and a black ribbon upon her sailor church for which he must return. Isabella hat. She saw Professor Revels sitting had observed his movements and felt disupon the men's side of the church, and tinctly disappointed; she nevertheless preperceived that he gave a glance, now and served her outward calm and proceeded then, in her direction—not exactly an on her way with even a little more than her ardent glance, but one in which conflict- usual dignity, the accession being due to ing emotions presented their respective the fact that she had observed several curiclaims in an orderly manner. At the close ous persons watching Revels and herself. of the service Isabella left the church When she had descended the hill near slowly. She confidently expected that the church and reached the bridge across Professor Revels would walk home with the creek, she saw Tom Turner leaning her. She was, indeed, sorely in need of against the railing, and was conscious of counsel and comfort. In two days she a decided feeling of pleasure at sight of must leave her home. There was nowhere her sturdy young neighbor, who looked for her to go, except to the small house quite well in a new suit of clothes. She occupied by her father and his family, in appreciated, too, the delicacy which had which there was positively no room for made him wait at the bridge rather than, her. Her marriage with the Professor by joining her at the church, interfere was set for the following week. She might with other plans which she might have under more auspicious conditions, have had. He walked home with her, and postponed it out of respect to the old invited her to dinner at his mother's. man's memory; but under the circum- She accepted the invitation, after some stances, there being nɔ tie of blood be- little demur; she had always liked Tom's tween them, the question of her own future mother, who was an even-tempered woman, became of paramount importance. Until and a peaceable neighbor. her relations with the Professor should be definitely settled—and it must be admitted On the following Monday afternoon that Isabella had felt some misgivings about five o'clock, shortly after school since the funeral—her future movements hours, Isabella, who was getting ready to must, of course, remain undecided. She leave the sway-backed house, heard a had been offered, for instance, a country familiar step on the piazza. She opened school to teach, and was at a loss what the door, and admitted Professor Revels. response to make. She had thought a He put out his hand and took her own, great deal of Professor Revels ; respect which she gave him mechanically. If he for his position had been as much an ele- contemplated any warmer greeting, she did ment of her regard as any warmer feeling. not encourage it by her manner. She felt that he had treated her rather “Good-evening, Isabella," he said, laycoldly of late ; but if he should come for- ing his hat upon the table and taking a ward after church and walk home with seat without further invitation. “I hope her, she was willing to overlook his neglect you are feeling well.” and resume their former relations.
Yes, sir,” answered Isabella—he had The congregation left the church, at the been her teacher a year before, and Isaclose of the service, by two different doors, bella always addressed him in terms of most of the men passing out through one respect_“as well as could be expected.” and the women through the other, though As well, no doubt,” he rejoined with
a sigh, “as could be expected after so careful economy, you will be able to painful an experience. I had always save for me, during the next ten years, regarded Mr. Grundy as a gentleman-a as much as the inheritance of which you man of no education, it is true, through have been robbed would have amounted no fault of his own—but a man of correct to.” habits and sound principles. I could “ Thank you, sir," rejoined Isabella, never have imagined him guilty of such humbly. “I have never been considered gross injustice and such unfeeling cruelty extravagant. Grandpap was saving, and as to bring you up as his heir and then taught me the value of money." leave his property to distant relatives who
Revels looked moodily satisfied. “ Do had no claim upon him whatever.” you know yet what your share of the
“ Please do not speak harshly of him," estate will amount to ?” he asked. said Isabella. “ His property was his “ Sixty dollars, eight and one-eleventh own-he worked hard for it-he could do cents. I had to throw off the fraction to with it as he liked. He had already done make change.” much for me.”
Sixty dollars and eight cents," he re“ It is very kind of you to talk that way, peated, meditatively. “I had supposed it Isabella; it speaks well for your heart, but would be a little more—but no matter. not well for your sense of justice. There With so recent a death in the family you were cthers besides you to be considered.” would not want a wedding--we can be
“ Yes, it is true, there were others,” married quietly, and save the expense. rejoined Isabella, thinking of the ten Laid out prudently, the sixty dollars will fatherless nephews and nieces.
furnish our house. I presume that under “ It was because I could not control ny the circumstances you would be willing to feelings toward Mr. Grundy," continued forego the trip to Washington—we can Revels, conscious that some explanation go down to Wilmington for a day or two would be gracefully appropriate, even if on the boat.” not really called for," that I have not been Yes," she replied ; "I have given up around since the funeral. We have both the Washington trip for the present.” been disappointed, Isabella.”
Very well, then, Isabella ; I am con“I will admit that I have,” murmured vinced that, on the whole, it will be for Isabella.
the best. We will be married next Mon“ Yes, and so have I. Many a znan in day night at eight, according to our origmy place would feel entirely justified in inal plan. Will you be here, or at your breaking off our engagement. When I father's ?” offered you my hand, you were the pros- " I shall be at my husband's, Professor pective heiress of this handsome house, Revels," replied Isabella, rising, with a and of this spacious lot, upon which four cold glitter in her eyes and a triumphant or five other houses might easily be built. ring in her voice which made Revels Thoughtless people have smiled at the shiver with vague alarm. sway-backed roof, but my brother, the “ Your---your husband's?” he stamcarpenter, assured me that it could easily mered, rising involuntarily the while. be straightened. But you have been well " At my husband's," repeated Isabella raised, Isabella, and I think, after all, in distinctly, lingering upon the words—"at spite of your loss, that you please me my husband's, Mr. Thomas Turner's, better and would make a more suitable around the corner. You are too slow school-teacher's wife than any other young about making up your mind, Professor woman in town.”
Revels. I was married to Mr. Turner “ You are paying me a high compli- after church last night. There he is comment," said Isabella.
ing up the walk now. He will need all “ It may seem so,” he went on, " but my attention, and I wish you a very good I am sincere. I have figured that, by evening."