Tải bản đầy đủ

Oh money money


TheProjectGutenbergEBookofOh,Money!Money!,byEleanorHodgman
Porter
ThiseBookisfortheuseofanyoneanywhereatnocostandwithalmostno
restrictionswhatsoever.Youmaycopyit,giveitawayorre-useitunderthe
termsoftheProjectGutenbergLicenseincludedwiththiseBookoronlineat
www.gutenberg.org
Title:Oh,Money!Money!
Author:EleanorHodgmanPorter
PostingDate:October26,2012[EBook#5962]ReleaseDate:June,2004First
Posted:October1,2002LastUpdated:June20,2016
Language:English
***STARTOFTHISPROJECTGUTENBERGEBOOKOH,MONEY!
MONEY!***

ProducedbyCharlesFranks,CharlesAldarondo,andtheOnlineDistributed
ProofreadingTeam.

[IllustrationbyHelenMasonGrosewithcaption:"Iwasthinking—of
Mr.StanleyG.Fulton"]



OH,MONEY!MONEY!
ANOVEL
BY
ELEANORH.PORTER

Authorof
TheRoadtoUnderstanding,JustDavid,Etc.
WITHILLUSTRATIONSBYHELENMASONGROSE

To
MyFriend
EVABAKER

CONTENTS
I.EXITMR.STANLEYG.FULTON
II.ENTERMR.JOHNSMITH
III.THESMALLBOYATTHEKEYHOLE
IV.INSEARCHOFSOMEDATES
V.INMISSFLORA'SALBUM
VI.POORMAGGIE


VII.POORMAGGIEANDSOMEOTHERS
VIII.ASANTACLAUSHELDUP
IX."DEARCOUSINSTANLEY"
X.WHATDOESITMATTER?
XI.SANTACLAUSARRIVES
XII.THETOYSRATTLEOUT
XIII.THEDANCINGBEGINS
XIV.FROMMETOYOUWITHLOVE
XV.INSEARCHOFREST
XVI.THEFLYINTHEOINTMENT
XVII.ANAMBASSADOROFCUPID'S
XVIII.JUSTAMATTEROFBEGGING
XIX.STILLOTHERFLIES
XX.FRANKENSTEIN:BEINGALETTERFROMJOHNSMITHTOEDWARDD.NORTON,
ATTORNEYATLAW
XXI.SYMPATHIESMISPLACED
XXII.WITHEVERYJIMAJAMES


XXIII.REFLECTIONS—MIRROREDANDOTHERWISE
XXIV.THATMISERABLEMONEY
XXV.EXITMR.JOHNSMITH
XXVI.REENTERMR.STANLEYG.FULTON


ILLUSTRATIONS
"IWASTHINKING—OFMR.STANLEYG.FULTON"Frontispiece
"ICAN'THELPIT,AUNTMAGGIE.I'VEJUSTGOTTOBEAWAY!"
"JIM,YOU'LLHAVETOCOME!"
"ANDLOOKINTOTHOSEBLESSEDCHILDREN'SFACES"

FromdrawingsbyMrs.HowardB.Grose,Jr.


CHAPTERI
EXITMR.STANLEYG.FULTON

Therewasathoughtfulfrownonthefaceofthemanwhowasthepossessorof
twentymilliondollars.Hewasatall,spareman,withafringeofreddish-brown
hairencirclingabaldspot.Hisblueeyes,fixedjustnowinasteadygazeupona
rowofponderouslawbooksacrosstheroom,werefriendlyandbenevolentin
directcontradictiontothebulldog,never-let-gofightingqualitiesofthesquare
jawbelowthefirm,ratherthinlips.
Thelawyer,ayouthfullyalertmanofsixtyyears,trimlygrayastogarb,hair,
andmustache,satidlywatchinghim,yetwitheyesthatlookedsointentlythat
theyseemedtolisten.
Forfullyfiveminutesthetwomenhadbeenpullingattheircigarsinsilence
whenthemillionairespoke.
"Ned,whatamIgoingtodowithmymoney?"
Intothelawyer'slisteningeyesflashed,foramoment,thekeenlyscrutinizing
glanceusuallyreservedforthewitnessontheotherside.Thenquietlycamethe
answer.
"Spendityourself,Ihope—forsomeyearstocome,Stanley."
Mr.StanleyG.Fultonwasguiltyofashrugandanupliftedeyebrow.
"Thanks.Verypretty,andIappreciateit,ofcourse.ButIcan'twearbutonesuit
ofclothesatatime,noreatbutonedinner—which,bytheway,justnowconsists
ofsomebody'shealthbiscuitandhotwater.Twentymillionsdon'treallywhat
youmightcallmeltawayatthatrate."


Thelawyerfrowned.
"Shucks,Fulton!"heexpostulated,withanirritabletwistofhishand.
"Ithoughtbetterofyouthanthat.Thispoorrichman's'one-suit,
one-dinner,one-bed-at-a-time'hard-luckstorydoesn'tsuityourstyle.
Bettercutitout!"
"Allright.Cutitis."Themansmiledgood-humoredly."ButyouseeIwas
nettled.Youdidn'tgetmeatall.Iaskedyouwhatwastobecomeofmymoney
afterI'ddonespendingitmyself—thelittlethatisleft,ofcourse."
Oncemorefromthelawyer'seyesflashedthatkeenlyscrutinizingglance.
"Whatwasit,Fulton?Amidnightrabbit,orawedgeofmincepieNOTlike
motherusedtomake?Why,manalive,you'rebarelyoverfifty,yet.Cheerup!
It'sonlyalittlematterofindigestion.Therearealotofgooddaysandgood
dinnerscomingtoyou,yet."
Themillionairemadeawryface.
"Verylikely—ifIsurvivethebiscuits.But,seriously,Ned,I'minearnest.No,I
don'tthinkI'mgoingtodie—yetawhile.ButIranacrossyoungBixbylastnight
—gothimhome,infact.Deliveredhimtohiswhite-facedlittlewife.Talkabout
yourmaudlinidiots!"
"Yes,Iknow.Toobad,toobad!"
"Hm-m;well,that'swhatonemilliondid—inherited.Itsetmetothinking—of
mine,whenIgetthroughwiththem."
"Isee."Thelawyer'slipscametogetheralittlegrimly."You'venotmadeyour
will,Ibelieve."
"No.Dreadedit,somehow.Funnyhowaman'llfightshyofalittlethinglike
that,isn'tit?Andwhenwe'resomightyparticularwhereitgoeswhilewe're
living!"
"Yes,Iknow;you'renottheonlyone.Youhaverelatives—somewhere,I
surmise."


"Nothingnearerthancousins,thirdorfourth,backEast.They'dgetit,Isuppose
—withoutawill."
"Whydon'tyoumarry?"
Themillionairerepeatedthewryfaceofamomentbefore.
"I'mnotamarryingman.Ineverdidcaremuchforwomen;and—I'mnotfool
enoughtothinkthatawomanwouldbeapttofallinlovewithmybaldhead.
NoramIobligingenoughtocaretohandthemillionsovertothewomanthat
fallsinlovewithTHEM,takingmealongasthenecessarysackthatholdsthe
gold.Ifitcomestothat,I'dratherriskthecousins.They,atleast,areofmyown
blood,andtheydidn'tangletogetthemoney."
"Youknowthem?"
"Neversaw'em."
"Whynotpickoutabunchofcollegesandendowthem?"
Themillionaireshookhishead.
"Doesn'tappealtome,somehow.Oh,ofcourseitoughtto,but—itjustdoesn't.
That'sall.MaybeifIwasacollegemanmyself;but—well,Ihadtodigforwhat
educationIgot."
"Verywell—charities,then.Therearenumberlessorganizationsthat—"He
stoppedabruptlyattheother'supliftedhand.
"Organizations!GoodHeavens,Ishouldthinktherewere!Itried'emonce.Igot
thatphilanthropicbeeinmybonnet,andIgavethousands,tensofthousandsto
'em.ThenIgottowonderingwherethemoneywent."
Unexpectedlythelawyerchuckled.
"Youneverdidliketoinvestwithoutinvestigating,Fulton,"heobserved.
Withonlyashrugforananswertheotherplungedon.
"Now,understand.I'mnotsayingthatorganizedcharityisn'tallright,and


doesn'tdogood,ofcourse.NeitheramIpreparedtoproposeanythingtotakeits
place.AndmaybethetwoorthreeIdealtwithwereparticularlyaddictedtothe
sortofthingIobjectedto.But,honestly,Ned,ifyou'dlostheartandfriendsand
money,andwerejustreadytochuckthewholeshooting-match,howwouldyou
liketobecomea'Case,'say,numbertwenty-threethousandsevenhundredand
forty-one,ticketedanddocketed,anddulyapportionedofftoasix-by-ninerule
of'dothis'and'dothat,'whileadozenspectacledeyeswatchedyoubeing
cleanedupandregulatedandwoundupwithakeymadeofjustsomuchandno
morepatsandpreachmentscarefullyweighedandlabeled?HowWOULDyou
likeit?"
Thelawyerlaughed.
"Iknow;but,mydearfellow,whatwouldyouhave?Surely,UNorganized
charityandpromiscuousgivingisworse—"
"Oh,yes,I'vetriedthatway,too,"shruggedtheother."Therewasatimewhen
everyTom,Dick,andHarry,witharun-downshoeandaraggedcoat,could
countonmeforaten-spotbyjustholdingouthishand,noquestionsasked.
Thenaserious-eyedlittlewomansternlytoldmeonedaythattheindiscriminate
charityofamillionairewasnotonlyacursetoanycommunity,butacorruption
tothewholestate.Ibelieveshekindlyincludedthenation,aswell,blessher!
AndIthoughtIwasdoinggood!""Whatablow—toyou!"Therewasa
whimsicalsmileinthelawyer'seyes.
"Itwas."Themillionairewasnotsmiling."Butshewasright.Itsetmeto
thinking,andIbegantofollowupthoseten-spots—theonesthatIcouldtrace.
Jove!whatamessI'dmadeofit!Oh,someofthemwereallright,ofcourse,and
ImadeTHOSEfiftiesonthespot.Buttheothers—!Itellyou,Ned,moneythat
isn'tearnedisthemostriskythingintheworld.IfI'dlefthalfthosewretches
alone,they'dhavebracedupandhelpedthemselvesandmademenof
themselves,maybe.Asitwas—Well,younevercantellastotheresultsofasocalled'good'action.FrommyexperienceIshouldsaytheyareeverywhitas
dangerousasthebadones."
Thelawyerlaughedoutright.
"But,mydearfellow,that'sjustwheretheorganizedcharitycomesin.
Don'tyousee?"


"Oh,yes,Iknow—Casenumbertwenty-threethousandsevenhundredandfortyone!Andthat'sallright,ofcourse.Reliefofsomesortisabsolutelynecessary.
ButI'dliketoseealittlewarmsympathyinjectedintoit,someway.Givethe
machineaheart,say,aswellashandsandahead."
"Thenwhydon'tyoutryityourself?"
"NotI!"Hisgestureofdissentwasemphatic."Ihavetriedit,inaway,and
failed.That'swhyI'dlikesomeoneelsetotacklethejob.Andthatbringsme
rightbacktomyoriginalquestion.I'mwonderingwhatmymoneywilldo,when
I'mdonewithit.I'dliketohaveoneofmyownkinhaveit—ifIwassureof
him.Moneyisaqueerproposition,Ned,andit'scapableof—'mostanything."
"Itis.You'reright."
"WhatIcandowithit,andwhatsomeoneelsecandowithit,aretwoquite
differentmatters.Idon'tconsidermyeffortstocirculateitwisely,oreven
harmlessly,exactlywhatyou'dcallahowlingsuccess.WhateverI'vedone,I've
alwaysbeencriticizedfornotdoingsomethingelse.IfIgaveacostly
entertainment,Iwasaccusedofshowyostentation.IfIdidn'tgiveit,Iwas
accusedofnotputtingmoneyintohonestcirculation.IfIdonatedtoachurch,it
wascalledconsciencemoney;andifIdidn'tdonatetoit,theysaidIwasmean
andmiserly.SomuchforwhatI'vedone.Iwasjustwondering—whattheother
fellow'ddowithit."
"Whyworry?'Twon'tbeyourfault."
"Butitwill—ifIgiveittohim.GreatScott,Ned!whatmoneydoesforfolks,
sometimes—folksthataren'tusedtoit!LookatBixby;andlookatthatpoor
littleMarstongirl,throwingherselfawayonthatworthlessscampofaGowing
who'sonlyafterhermoney,aseverybody(butherself)knows!Andifitdoesn't
makeknavesandmartyrsofthem,tentooneitdoesmakefoolsof'em.They're
worsethanakidwithadollaroncircusday;andtheyusejustaboutasmuch
sensespendingtheirpile,too.Youshouldhavehearddadtellabouthispalsin
theeightiesthatstruckitrichinthegoldmines.Oneboughtupeverygrocery
storeintownandinstitutedahugefreegrab-bagforthepopulace;andanother
droppedhishundredthousandinthediceboxbeforeitwasaweekold.Iwonder
whatthosecousinsofminebackEastarelike!"
"Ifyou'refearful,bettertakeCasenumbertwenty-threethousandsevenhundred


andforty-one,"smiledthelawyer.
"Hm-m;Isupposeso,"ejaculatedtheothergrimly,gettingtohisfeet.
"Well,Imustbeoff.It'sbiscuittime,Isee."
Amomentlaterthedoorofthelawyer'ssumptuouslyappointedofficeclosed
behindhim.Nottwenty-fourhoursafterward,however,itopenedtoadmithim
again.Hewasalert,eager-eyed,andsmiling.Helookedtenyearsyounger.Even
theofficeboywhousheredhimincockedacuriouseyeathim.
Themanatthegreatflat-toppeddeskgaveasurprisedejaculation.
"Hullo,Fulton!Thosebiscuitsmustbeagreeingwithyou,"helaughed.
"Mindtellingmetheirname?"
"Ned,I'vegotascheme.IthinkIcancarryitout."Mr.StanleyG.Fultonstrode
acrosstheroomanddroppedhimselfintothewaitingchair."Rememberthose
cousinsbackEast?Well,I'mgoingtofindoutwhichof'emIwantformyheir."
"Anothercaseofinvestigatingbeforeinvesting,eh?"
"Exactly."
"Well,that'slikeyou.Whatisit,alittledetectivework?Goingtogetacquainted
withthem,Isuppose,andseehowtheytreatyou.Thenyoucansizethemupas
toheartsandhabits,anddropthegoldenplumintothelapoftheworthyman,
eh?"
"Yes,andno.Butnotthewayyousay.I'mgoingtogive'emsayfiftyora
hundredthousandapiece,and—"
"GIVEittothem—NOW?"
"Sure!How'mIgoingtoknowhowthey'llspendmoneytilltheyhaveitto
spend?"
"Iknow;but—"
"Oh,I'veplannedallthat.Don'tworry.Ofcourseyou'llhavetofixitupforme.I
shallleaveinstructionswithyou,andwhenthetimecomesallyouhavetodois


tocarrythemout."
Thelawyercameerectinhischair.
"LEAVEinstructions!Butyou,yourself—?"
"Oh,I'mgoingtobethere,inHillerton."
"There?Hillerton?"
"Yes,wherethecousinslive,youknow.OfcourseIwanttoseehowitworks."
"Humph!Isupposeyouthinkyou'llfindout—withyouwatchingtheirevery
move!"Thelawyerhadsettledbackinhischair,anironicalsmileonhislips.
"Oh,theywon'tknowme,ofcourse,exceptasJohnSmith."
"JohnSmith!"Thelawyerwassittingerectagain.
"Yes.I'mgoingtotakethatname—foratime."
"Nonsense,Fulton!Haveyoulostyoursenses?"
"No."Themillionairestillsmiledimperturbably."Really,mydearNed,I'm
disappointedinyou.Youdon'tseemtorealizethepossibilitiesofthisthing."
"Oh,yes,Ido—perhapsbetterthanyou,oldman,"retortedtheotherwithan
expressiveglance.
"Oh,come,Ned,listen!I'vegotthreecousinsinHillerton.Ineversawthem,and
theyneversawme.I'mgoingtogivethematidylittlesumofmoneyapiece,and
thenhavethefunofwatchingthemspendit.Anyharminthat,especiallyasit's
noone'sbusinesswhatIdowithmymoney?"
"N—no,Isupposenot—ifyoucancarrysuchawildschemethrough."
"Ican,Ithink.I'mgoingtobeJohnSmith."
"Nicedistinctivename!"
"Ichoseacolorlessoneonpurpose.I'mgoingtobeacolorlessperson,yousee."


"Oh!And—er—doyouthinkMr.StanleyG.Fulton,multi-millionaire,
withhispicturedfaceinhalfthepapersandmagazinesfromthe
AtlantictothePacific,CANhidethatfacebehindacolorlessJohn
Smith?"
"Maybenot.Buthecanhideitbehindanicelittleclose-croppedbeard."The
millionairestrokedhissmoothchinreflectively.
"Humph!HowlargeisHillerton?"
"Eightortenthousand.NicelittleNewEnglandtown,I'mtold."
"Hm-m.Andyour—er—businessinHillerton,thatwillenableyoutobethe
observingflyonyourcousins'walls?"
"Yes,I'vethoughtthatallout,too;andthat'sanotherbrilliantstroke.I'mgoingto
beagenealogist.I'mgoingtobeatworktracingtheBlaisdellfamily—their
nameisBlaisdell.I'mwritingabookwhichnecessitatesthecollectionofan
endlessamountofdata.Nowhowaboutthatfly'schancesofobservation.Eh?"
"Mightypoor,ifhe'sswatted—andthat'swhathewillbe!NewEngland
housewivesaredeathonflies,Iunderstand."
"Well,I'llriskthisone."
"Youpoorfellow!"Therewereexasperationandamusementinthelawyer's
eyes,buttherewasonlymocksympathyinhisvoice."AndtothinkI'veknown
youalltheseyears,andneversuspectedit,Fulton!"
Themanwhoownedtwentymillionsstillsmiledimperturbably.
"Oh,yes,Iknowwhatyoumean,butI'mnotcrazy.AndreallyI'minterestedin
genealogy,too,andI'vebeenthinkingforsometimeI'dgodiggingaboutthe
rootsofmyancestraltree.Ihavedugalittle,inyearsgone.Mymotherwasa
Blaisdell,youknow.Hergrandfatherwasbrothertosomeancestorofthese
HillertonBlaisdells;andIreallyaminterestedincollectingBlaisdelldata.So
that'sallstraight.Ishallbetellingnofibs.Andthinkoftheopportunityitgives
me!Besides,Ishalltrytoboardwithoneofthem.I'vedecidedthat."
"Uponmyword,aprettylittlescheme!"


"Yes,Iknewyou'dappreciateit,themoreyouthoughtaboutit."Mr.
StanleyG.Fulton'sblueeyestwinkledalittle.
Withadisdainfulgesturethelawyerbrushedthisaside.
"Doyoumindtellingmehowyouhappenedtothinkofit,yourself?"
"Notabit.'TwasalittlebookletgotoutbyaTrustCompany."
"Itsoundslikeit!"
"Oh,theydidn'tsuggestexactlythis,I'lladmit;buttheydidsuggestthat,ifyou
werefearfulastothewayyourheirswouldhandletheirinheritance,youcould
createatrustfundfortheirbenefitwhileyouwereliving,andthenwatchthe
waythebeneficiariesspenttheincome,aswellasthewaythetrustfunditself
wasmanaged.Inthiswayyoucouldobservetheeffectsofyourgifts,andatthe
sametimebeabletochangethemifyoudidn'tlikeresults.Thatgavemean
idea.I'vejustdevelopedit.That'sall.I'mgoingtomakemycousinsalittlerich,
andseewhich,ifanyofthem,canstandbeingveryrich."
"Butthemoney,man!Howareyougoingtodropahundredthousanddollars
intothreemen'slaps,andexpecttogetawaywithoutaninvestigationastothe
whyandwhereforeofsuchasingularproceeding?"
"That'swhereyourpartcomesin,"smiledthemillionaireblandly.
"Besides,tobeaccurate,oneofthelapsis—er—apetticoatone."
"Oh,indeed!Somuchtheworse,maybe.But—AndsothisiswhereIcomein,is
it?Well,andsupposeIrefusetocomein?"
"RegretfullyIshallhavetoemployanotherattorney."
"Humph!Well?"
"Butyouwon'trefuse."Theblueeyesoppositewerestilltwinkling."Inthefirst
place,you'remygoodfriend—mybestfriend.Youwouldn'tbeseenlettingme
startoffonawild-goosechaselikethiswithoutyourguidinghandatthehelmto
seethatIdidn'tcomeacropper."
"Aren'tyougettingyourmetaphorsatriflemixed?"Thistimethelawyer'seyes


weretwinkling.
"Eh?What?Well,maybe.ButIreckonyougetmymeaning.Besides,what
Iwantyoutodoisamereroutineofregularbusiness,withyou."
"Itsoundslikeit.Routine,indeed!"
"Butitis—yourpart.Listen.I'moffforSouthAmerica,say,onanexploring
tour.InyourchargeIleavecertainpaperswithinstructionsthatonthefirstday
ofthesixthmonthofmyabsence(Ibeingunheardfrom),youaretoopena
certainenvelopeandactaccordingtoinstructionswithin.Simplestthinginthe
world,man.Nowisn'tit?"
"Oh,verysimple—asyouputit."
"Well,meanwhileI'llstartforSouthAmerica—alone,ofcourse;and,sofaras
you'reconcerned,thatendsit.Ifontheway,somewhere,Ideterminesuddenly
onachangeofdestination,thatisnoneofyouraffair.If,sayinamonthortwo,a
quiet,inoffensivegentlemanbythenameofSmitharrivesinHillertononthe
legitimateandperfectlyrespectablebusinessoflookingupafamilypedigree,
thatalsoisnoneofyourconcern."Withasuddenlaughthelawyerfellbackin
hischair.
"ByJove,Fulton,ifIdon'tbelieveyou'llpullthisabsurdthingoff!"
"There!Nowyou'retalkinglikeasensibleman,andwecangetsomewhere.Of
courseI'llpullitoff!Nowhere'smyplan.Inorderbesttojudgehowmy
esteemedrelativesconductthemselvesunderthesuddenaccessionofwealth,I
mustseethemfirstwithoutit,ofcourse.Hence,IplantobeinHillertonsome
monthsbeforeyourletterandthemoneyarrive.Iintend,indeed,tobeonthe
friendliesttermswitheveryBlaisdellinHillertonbeforethattimescomes."
"Butcanyou?Willtheyacceptyouwithoutreferencesorintroduction?"
"Oh,Ishallhavethebestofreferencesandintroductions.BobChalmersisthe
presidentofabankthere.RememberBob?Well,IshalltakeJohnSmithinand
introducehimtoBobsomeday.Afterthat,Bob'llintroduceJohnSmith?See?
AllIneedisaletterastomyintegrityandrespectability,Ireckon,somy
kinsmenwon'tsuspectmeofdesignsontheirspoonswhenIasktoboardwith
them.Yousee,I'maquiet,retiringgentleman,andIdon'tlikenoisyhotels."


Withanexplosivechucklethelawyerclappedhisknee."Fulton,thisis
absolutelytherichestthingIeverheardof!I'dgiveafarmtobeaflyonYOUR
wallandseeyoudoit.I'mblestifIdon'tthinkI'llgotoHillertonmyself—tosee
Bob.ByGeorge,IwillgoandseeBob!"
"Ofcourse,"agreedtheotherserenely."Whynot?Besides,itwillbethemost
naturalthingintheworld—business,youknow.Infact,Ishouldthinkyoureally
oughttogo,inconnectionwiththebequests."
"Why,tobesure."Thelawyerfrownedthoughtfully."Howmuchareyougoing
togivethem?"
"Oh,ahundredthousandapiece,Ireckon."
"Thatoughttodo—forpinmoney."
"Oh,well,Iwantthemtohaveenough,youknow,forittobearealtestofwhat
theywoulddowithwealth.Anditmustbecash—nosecurities.Iwantthemto
dotheirowninvesting."
"Buthowareyougoingtofixit?Whatexcuseareyougoingtogivefor
droppingahundredthousandintotheirlapslikethat?Youcan'ttellyourreal
purpose,naturally!You'ddefeatyourownends."
"Thatpartwe'llhavetofixupintheletterofinstructions.Ithinkwecan.I'vegot
ascheme."
"I'llwarrantyouhave!I'llbelieveanythingofyounow.Butwhatare
yougoingtodoafterward—whenyou'vefoundoutwhatyouwanttoknow,
Imean?Won'titbesomethingofashock,whenJohnSmithturnsinto
Mr.StanleyG.Fulton?Haveyouthoughtofthat?"
"Y-yes,I'vethoughtofthat,andIwillconfessmyideasarealittlehazy,inspots.
ButI'mnotworrying.Timeenoughtothinkofthatpart.Roughly,myplanisthis
now.There'llbetwolettersofinstructions:onetoopeninsixmonths,theother
tobeopenedin,say,acoupleofyears,orso.(Iwanttogivemyselfplentyof
timeformyobservations,yousee.)Thesecondletterwillreallygiveyoufinal
instructionsastothesettlingofmyestate—mywill.I'llhavetomakesomesort
ofone,Isuppose."


"But,goodHeavens,Stanley,you—you—"thelawyercametoahelplesspause.
Hiseyeswerestartled.
"Oh,that'sjustforemergency,ofcourse,incaseanything—er—happened.What
Ireallyintendisthatlongbeforethesecondletterofinstructionsisduetobe
opened,Mr.StanleyG.FultonwillcomebackfromhisSouthAmerican
explorations.He'llthenbeinapositiontosettlehisaffairstosuithimself,and—
er—makeanewwill.Understand?"
"Oh,Isee.But—there'sJohnSmith?HowaboutSmith?"
Themillionairesmiledmusingly,andstrokedhischinagain.
"Smith?Oh!Well,SmithwillhavefinishedcollectingBlaisdelldata,ofcourse,
andwillbeofftopartsunknown.Wedon'thavetotroubleourselveswithSmith
anylonger."
"Fulton,you'reawizard,"laughedthelawyer."Butnowaboutthecousins.Who
arethey?Youknowtheirnames,ofcourse."
"Oh,yes.YouseeI'vedonealittlediggingalready—someyearsago—looking
uptheBlaisdellfamily.(Bytheway,that'llcomeinfinenow,won'tit?)Andan
occasionalletterfromBobhaskeptmepostedastodeathsandbirthsinthe
HillertonBlaisdells.Ialwaysmeanttohuntthemupsometime,theybeingmy
nearestkithandkin.Well,withwhatIalreadyhad,andwithwhatBobhas
writtenme,Iknowthesefacts."
Hepaused,pulledasmallnotebookfromhispocket,andconsultedit.
"Therearetwosonsandadaughter,childrenofRufusBlaisdell.Rufusdied
yearsago,andhiswidowmarriedamanbythenameofDuff.Butshe'sdead
now.TheeldersonisFrankBlaisdell.Hekeepsagrocerystore.Theotheris
JamesBlaisdell.Heworksinarealestateoffice.Thedaughter,Flora,never
married.She'saboutforty-twoorthree,Ibelieve,anddoesdressmaking.James
Blaisdellhasason,Fred,seventeen,andtwoyoungerchildren.FrankBlaisdell
hasonedaughter,Mellicent.That'stheextentofmyknowledge,atpresent.But
it'senoughforourpurpose."
"Oh,anything'senough—foryourpurpose!Whatareyougoingtodofirst?"


"I'vedoneit.You'llsoonbereadinginyourmorningpaperthatMr.StanleyG.
Fulton,thesomewhateccentricmulti-millionaire,isabouttostartforSouth
America,andthatitishintedheisplanningtofinanceagiganticexploring
expedition.Theaccountsofwhathe'sgoingtoexplorewillvaryalltheway
fromIncaantiquitiestothesourceoftheAmazon.I'vedonealotoftalkingtoday,andagooddealofcautioningastosecrecy,etc.Itoughttobearfruitbytomorrow,orthedayafter,atthelatest.I'mgoingtostartnextweek,andI'mreally
goingEXPLORING,too—thoughnotexactlyastheythink.Icameinto-dayto
makeabusinessappointmentforto-morrow,please.Amanstartingonsucha
hazardousjourneymustbeprepared,youunderstand.Iwanttoleavemyaffairs
insuchshapethatyouwillknowexactlywhattodo—inemergency.Imaycome
to-morrow?"
Thelawyerhesitated,hisfaceanoddmixtureofdeterminationandirresolution.
"Oh,hangitall—yes.Ofcourseyoumaycome.To-morrowatten—iftheydon't
shutyouupbefore."
WithaboyishlaughMr.StanleyG.Fultonleapedtohisfeet.
"Thanks.To-morrowatten,then."Atthedoorheturnedbackjauntily."And,
say,Ned,what'llyoubetIdon'tgrowfatandyoungoverthisthing?What'llyou
betIdon'tgetsoIcaneatrealmeatand'tatersagain?"


CHAPTERII
ENTERMR.JOHNSMITH

ItwasonthefirstwarmeveninginearlyJunethatMissFloraBlaisdellcrossed
thecommonandturneddownthestreetthatledtoherbrotherJames'shome.
ThecommonmarkedthecenterofHillerton.Itsspaciousgreenlawnsandelmshadedwalksweretheprideofthetown.Therewasatrellisedband-standfor
summerconcerts,andatinypondthataccommodatedafewboatsinsummer
andalimitednumberofskatersinwinter.Perhaps,mostimportantofall,the
commondividedtheplebeianEastSidefromthemorepretentiousWest.James
BlaisdelllivedontheWestSide.HiswifesaidthateverybodydidwhoWAS
anybody.Theyhadlatelymovedthere,andwere,indeed,barelysettled.
MissBlaisdelldiddressmaking.Herhomewasashabbylittlerentedcottageon
theEastSide.Shewasathin-facedlittlewomanwithananxiousfrownandnearsighted,peeringeyesthatseemedalwaystobelookingforwrinkles.Shepeered
nowatthehousesasshepassedslowlydownthestreet.Shehadbeenonlytwice
toherbrother'snewhome,andshewasnotsurethatshewouldrecognizeit,in
spiteofthefactthatthestreetwasstillalightwiththelastraysofthesettingsun.
Suddenlyacrossherworriedfaceflashedarelievedsmile.
"Well,ifyouain'tallhereoutonthepiazza!"sheexclaimed,turning,inatthe
walkleadinguptooneoftheornatelittlehouses."My,ain'tthisgrand!"
"Oh,yes,it'sgrand,allright,"noddedthetired-lookingmaninthebigchair,
removinghisfeetfromtherailing.Hewasinhisshirt-sleeves,andwassmoking
apipe.Thedroopofhisthinmustachematchedthedroopofhisthinshoulders—
andbothindefinablybutunmistakablyspelleddisillusionanddiscouragement.
"It'sgrand,butIthinkit'stoogrand—forus.However,daughtersaysthebestis
nonetoogood—inHillerton.Eh,Bess?"


Bessie,thepretty,sixteen-year-olddaughterofthefamily,onlyshruggedher
shouldersalittlepetulantly.ItwasHarriet,thewife,whospoke—alarge,florid
womanwithashortupperlip,andabewildermentofbepuffedlighthair.She
wasalreadyonherfeet,pushingachairtowardhersister-in-law.
"Ofcourseitisn'ttoogrand,Jim,andyouknowit.Therearen'tanyreallynice
housesinHillertonexceptthePennocks'andtheoldGaylordplace.There,sit
here,Flora.Youlooktired."
"Thanks.Ibe—turribletired.Warm,too,ain'tit?"Thelittledressmakerbeganto
fanherselfwiththehatshehadtakenoff."My,'tisfuroverhere,ain'tit?Not
muchlike'twaswhenyoulivedright'roundthecornerfromme!AndIhadto
putonahatandgloves,too.Someway,IthoughtIoughtto—overhere."
Condescendinglythebepuffedheadthrewanapprovingnodinherdirection.
"Quiteright,Flora.TheEastSideisdifferentfromtheWestSide,andno
mistake.Andwhatwilldotherewon'tdohereatall,ofcourse."
"Howaboutfather'sshirt-sleeves?"ItwasascornfulgibefromBessieinthe
hammock."Idon'tnoticeanyoftherestofthemenaroundheresittingoutlike
that."
"Bessie!"chidedhermotherwearily."YouknowverywellI'mnottoblamefor
whatyourfatherwears.I'vetriedhardenough,I'msure!"
"Well,well,Hattie,"sighedtheman,withagestureofabandonment."Isupposed
IstillhadtherightsofafreebornAmericancitizeninmyownhome;butit
seemsIhaven't."Resignedlyhegottohisfeetandwentintothehouse.Whenhe
returnedamomentlaterhewaswearinghiscoat.
Benny,perchedprecariouslyontheverandarailing,gaveasuddenindignant
snort.Bennywaseight,theyoungestofthefamily.
"Well,Idon'tthinkIlikeithere,anyhow,"hechafed."I'drathergobackan'live
wherewedid.Afellercanhavesomefunthere.Ithasn'tbeenanythingbut
'Here,Benny,youmustn'tdothatoverhere,youmustn'tdothatoverhere!'ever
sincewecame.I'mgoinghomean'livewithAuntFlora.Say,can'tI,AuntFlo?"
"Blessthechild!Ofcourseyoucan,"beamedhisaunt."Butyouwon'twantto,


I'msure.Why,Benny,Ithinkit'sperfectlylovelyhere."
"Padon't."
"IndeedIdo,Benny,"correctedhisfatherhastily."It'sveryniceindeedhere,of
course.ButIdon'tthinkwecanaffordit.Wehadtosqueezeeverypennybefore,
andhowwe'regoingtomeetthisrentIdon'tknow."Hedrewaprofoundsigh.
"You'llearnit,justbeinghere—morebusiness,"assertedhiswifefirmly.
"Anyhow,we'vejustgottobehere,Jim!Weoweittoourselvesandourfamily.
LookatFredto-night!"
"Oh,yes,whereisFred?"queriedMissFlora.
"He'sovertoGussiePennock's,playingtennis,"interposedBessie,withapout.
"Themeanoldthingwouldn'taskme!"
"Butyouain'toldenough,mydear,"soothedheraunt."Wait;yourturnwill
comebyandby."
"Yes,that'sexactlyit,"triumphedthemother."HerturnWILLcome—ifwelive
here.DoyousupposeFredwouldhavegotaninvitationtoGussiePennock'sif
we'dstillbeenlivingontheEastSide?Notmuchhewould!Why,Mr.Pennock's
worthfiftythousand,ifhe'sworthadollar!Theyaresomeofourveryfirst
people."
"But,Hattie,moneyisn'teverything,dear,"remonstratedherhusbandgently.
"Wehadfriends,andgoodfriends,before."
"Yes;butyouwaitandseewhatkindoffriendswehavenow!"
"Butwecan'tkeepupwithsuchpeople,dear,onourincome;and—"
"Ma,here'saman.Iguesshewants—somebody."Itwasahuskywhisperfrom
Benny.
JamesBlaisdellstoppedabruptly.BessieBlaisdellandthelittledressmaker
cockedtheirheadsinterestedly.Mrs.Blaisdellrosetoherfeetandadvanced
towardthestepstomeetthemancomingupthewalk.


Hewasatall,ratherslenderman,withaclose-cropped,sandybeard,andanair
ofdiffidenceandapology.Ashetookoffhishatandcamenearer,itwasseen
thathiseyeswereblueandfriendly,andthathishairwasreddish-brown,and
ratherscantyontopofhishead.
"IamlookingforMr.Blaisdell—Mr.JamesBlaisdell,"hemurmured
hesitatingly.
Somethinginthestranger'sdeferentialmannersentawarmglowofimportance
tothewoman'sheart.Mrs.BlaisdellwassuddenlyremindedthatshewasMrs.
JamesD.BlaisdelloftheWestSide.
"IamMrs.Blaisdell,"sherepliedabitpompously."Whatcanwedoforyou,my
goodman?"Sheswelledagain,halfunconsciously.Shehadnevercalleda
person"mygoodman"before.Sheratherlikedtheexperience.
Themanonthestepscoughedslightlybehindhishand—asuddenspasmodic
littlecough.Thenverygravelyhereachedintohispocketandproducedaletter.
"FromMr.RobertChalmers—anotetoyourhusband,"hebowed,presentingthe
letter.
Alookofgratifiedsurprisecameintothewoman'sface.
"Mr.RobertChalmers,oftheFirstNational?Jim!"Sheturnedtoherhusband
joyously."Here'sanotefromMr.Chalmers.Quick—readit!"
Herhusband,alreadyonhisfeet,whiskedthesheetofpaperfromtheunsealed
envelope,andadjustedhisglasses.Amomentlaterheheldoutacordialhandto
thestranger.
"Ah,Mr.Smith,I'mgladtoseeyou.I'mgladtoseeanyfriendofBob
Chalmers'.Comeupandsitdown.Mywifeandchildren,andmysister,
MissBlaisdell.Mr.Smith,ladies—Mr.JohnSmith."(Glancingatthe
opennoteinhishand.)"HeissenttousbyMr.Chalmers,oftheFirst
National."
"Yes,thankyou.Mr.Chalmerswassokind."Stillwiththatdeferenceso
delightfullyheart-warming,thenewcomerbowedlowtotheladies,andmadehis
waytotheofferedchair."Iwillexplainatoncemybusiness,"hesaidthen."Iam


agenealogist."
"What'sthat?"ItwasaneagerquestionfromBennyontheverandarailing."Pa
isn'tanything,butma'saCongregationalist."
"Hush,child!"protestedaduetoffemininevoicessoftly;butthestranger,
apparentlyignoringtheinterruption,continuedspeaking.
"IamgatheringmaterialforabookontheBlaisdellfamily."
"TheBlaisdellfamily!"repeatedMr.JamesBlaisdell,withcordialinterest.
"Yes,"bowedtheother."Itismypurposetoremainsometimeinyourtown.I
amtoldtherearevaluablerecordshere,andanoldburying-groundofparticular
interestinthisconnection.Theneighboringtowns,too,havemuchBlaisdell
data,Iunderstand.AsIsaid,Iamintendingtomakethisplacemyheadquarters,
andIamlookingforanattractiveboarding-place.Mr.Chalmerswasgood
enoughtorefermetoyou."
"Tous—foraBOARDING-place!"TherewasanunmistakablefrownonMrs.
JamesD.Blaisdell'scountenanceasshesaidthewords."Well,I'msure
Idon'tseewhyheshould.WEdon'tkeepboarders!"
"But,Hattie,wecould,"interposedherhusbandeagerly."There'sthatbigfront
roomthatwedon'tneedabit.Anditwouldhelpalotif—"Atthewrathful
warninginhiswife'seyeshefellbacksilenced.
"Isaidthatwedidn'tkeepboarders,"reiteratedtheladydistinctly.
"Furthermore,wedoneedtheroomourselves."
"Yes,yes,ofcourse;Iunderstand,"brokeinMr.Smith,asifinhasty
conciliation."IthinkMr.Chalmersmeantthatperhapsoneofyou"—heglanced
uncertainlyattheanxious-eyedlittlewomanathisleft—"might—er—
accommodateme.Perhapsyou,now—"HeturnedhiseyesfulluponMissFlora
Blaisdell,andwaited.
Thelittledressmakerblushedpainfully.
"Me?Oh,mercy,no!Why,Iliveallalone—thatis,Imean,Icouldn't,you
know,"shestammeredconfusedly."Idressmake,andIdon'tgetanysortof


meals—notfitforaman,Imean.Justwomen'sthings—tea,toast,andriz
biscuit.I'msofondofrizbiscuit!But,ofcourse,you—"Shecametoan
expressivepause.
"Oh,Icouldstandthebiscuit,solongasthey'renothealthbiscuit,"laughedMr.
Smithgenially."Yousee,I'vebeenlivingonthoseandhotwaterquitelong
enoughasitis."
"Oh,ain'tyourhealthgood,sir?"Thelittledressmaker'sfaceworethedeepest
concern.
"Well,it'sbetterthanitwas,thankyou.IthinkIcanpromisetobeagood
boarder,allright."
"Whydon'tyougotoahotel?"Mrs.JamesD.Blaisdellstillspokewitha
slightlyinjuredair.
Mr.Smithliftedadeprecatoryhand.
"Oh,indeed,thatwouldnotdoatall—formypurpose,"hemurmured."Iwishto
beveryquiet.IfearIshouldfinditquitedisturbing—thenoiseandconfusionof
apublicplacelikethat.Besides,formywork,itseemedeminentlyfitting,as
wellasremarkablyconvenient,ifIcouldmakemyhomewithoneofthe
Blaisdellfamily."
Withasuddenexclamationthelittledressmakersaterect.
"Say,Harriet,howfunnyweneverthought!He'sjusttheoneforpoor
Maggie!Whynotsendhimthere?"
"PoorMaggie?"ItwasthemildvoiceofMr.Smith.
"Oursister—yes.Shelives—"
"YourSISTER!"IntoMr.Smith'sfacehadcomealookofstartledsurprise—a
lookalmostofterror."Butthereweren'tbutthree—thatis,Ithought—I
understoodfromMr.ChalmersthattherewerebutthreeBlaisdells,twobrothers,
andonesister—you,yourself."
"Oh,poorMaggieain'taBlaisdell,"explainedthelittledressmaker,withasmile.


"She'sjustMaggieDuff,fatherDuff'sdaughterbyhisfirstwife,youknow.He
marriedourmotheryearsago,whenwechildrenwerelittle,sowewerebrought
upwithMaggie,andalwayscalledhersister;though,ofcourse,shereallyain't
anyrelationtousatall."
"Oh,Isee.Yes,tobesure.Ofcourse!"Mr.Smithseemedoddlythoughtful.He
appearedtobesettlingsomethinginhismind."Sheisn'taBlaisdell,then."
"No,butshe'ssonearlikeone,andshe'sasplendidcook,and—-"
"Well,Ishan'tsendhimtoMaggie,"cutinMrs.JamesD.Blaisdellwith
emphasis."PoorMaggie'sgotquiteenoughonherhands,asitis,withthatfather
ofhers.Besides,sheisn'taBlaisdellatall."
"Andshecouldn'tcomeandcookandtakecareofusnearsomuch,either,could
she,"plungedinBenny,"ifshetookthismanterfeed?"
"Thatwilldo,Benny,"admonishedhismother,withnettleddignity.
"Youforgetthatchildrenshouldbeseenandnotheard."
"Yes'm.But,please,can'tIbeheardjustaminuteforthis?Whydon'tyesendthe
manterUncleFrankan'AuntJane?Maybethey'dtakehim."
"Theverything!"criedMissFloraBlaisdell."Iwouldn'twonderamiteifthey
did."
"Yes,Iwasthinkingofthem,"noddedhersister-in-law."Andthey'realways
gladofalittlehelp,—especiallyJane."
"Anybodyshouldbe,"observedMr.JamesBlaisdellquietly.
Onlytheheightenedcolorinhiswife'scheeksshowedthatshehadheard—and
understood.
"Here,Benny,"shedirected,"goandshowthegentlemanwhereUncle
Franklives."
"Allright!"Withaspringtheboyleapedtothelawnandprancedtothe
sidewalk,dancingthereonhistoes."I'llshowye,Mr.Smith."


Tài liệu bạn tìm kiếm đã sẵn sàng tải về

Tải bản đầy đủ ngay

×