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men in a position of power, he was prodigiously were a sensible girl. I would urge you to think stiff in his resolutions, and the more whimsical again ; you may be losing a large legacy. I have they happened to be the greater was Nat's obsti- no spite against your father, though he has nacy. Miss Westland, therefore, bundled up her brought himself from owning a farm to making work; Mrs. Weatherall pocketed the “Complete teaboards. You are a good girl
, who would take Housewife;" Mrs. Mathewson resumed her writ- care of money. Hadn't you better stay at home? ing-case; and, with many assurances that they Mind, I don't forbid you to come, if you like, but would do anything to oblige him, which Nat an- one must keep one's word. I'll leave you noswered with wonted dryness, “ Yes, yes, I know thing." you would,” all disappeared more quickly than Mr. Norton," said Bessy-for Nat demanded they came. For that day and the next Troy talked so much ceremony from still nearer relatives of nothing but Nat's new notion. What put it “Mr. Norton, I want no money to take care of. into his mind, was the wonder of our whole town, I have been blest with health and hands, which and more particularly of the three interested fami. are sufficient for my support. Leave your prolies; but everybody at last agreed that he was a perty as you think best, and let me come now and very eccentric old man.
then to help about your room.” The houses of Mathewson, Weatherall, and “ Take your own way, girl," said Nat, throwing Westland obeyed their warning to the very letter. himself back on the pillow, for the old man was A messenger was sent from each dwelling twice exhausted ; " take your own way; there's no use a day to inquire after Nat's state, and all assumed in advising a woman!" long faces as they communicated to their neigh- Nat's dormitory was divided from his parlour bours the accounts of failing strength and increas- by a wainscot partition. It had a well-scoured floor, ing illness ; but there was a large legacy at stake, two or three polished maple chairs set round the and Norton was left entirely to the care of Cæsar green-painted walls, a great bedstead of the same and his physician. The old man's injury had been material, with a curiously-formed desk, in which it more serious than the doetor at first supposed. was believed Nat kept his most important papers. Evidences of a blood-vessel having been ruptured There was a modest dressing apparatus hard by, a somewhere in the lungs appeared, and Nat himself stove kept very bright but never heated, and a became alarmed. His hardy, healthy life had pre- curtainless window, with a double sash for the vented his acquiring that experience in sickness winter. Bessy Bennet heated the stove, curtained which often serves the patient more than the phy. the window, put up a screen of green baize to keep sician can. He had good medical attendance, but out the draught, left Nat's toast and tea quite hot Nat knew not how to be careful of hiinself; Cæsar on a small table by his side, and then went home was but an unskilful nurse ; and, though Norton's to prepare her father's breakfast. resolution to keep out his anxious relatives re- It was one of those bright frosty days so fremained unshaken, matters were anything but quent at the close of our New England winter. comfortable with him, when, on the second morn- The sunlight glistened on the frozen Skim, and ing, the negro enteredt his room with an astonished shone brightly into the single room which served look, and the tidings,
the Bennets at once for workshop and parlour. A Please,, massa,, Bessy Bennet's come to see if diminutive kitchen and two sleeping closets were she can be of any use.
all the cottage contained besides, yet there was an “Show her in," said Nat, his face, in spite of air of homely comfort about it. Bessy's work-table pain and sickness, assuming the hard, keen look stood at one window and her father's small bench with which he was wont to drive a bargain or out at the ather, while a spacious cupboard stood on wit a trader. As Bessy, in her warm grey cloak each side of the Hearth, on which blazed a bright and Bauver bomet, entered the clean but comfort- wood fire. The brick floor was covered with a list less siok room, Norton began : "Good morning, carpet of Bessy's own knitting; two or three girl, you are a daughter of Jonathan Bennet, I prints, in polished cedar frames, which had once supposes. What brings you here?"
decorated their old fárm-house-Joseph and his “I Head you had been hurt, sir,” said Bessy, Brethren, Ruth Gleaning in the Fields, and the "and came to see if I could be of any use about portrait of Washingtonomamented the snowyou."
white walls; and in the centre, spread for their *Of use!!* cried Natt sharply. Everybody's morning meal, stood the round table, in which of use that's willing. But haven't you leand what Jonathan delighted as a choice specimen of his art. I said yesterday, that my relation of mine that The old man looked cheerfully up from one of the came here while I was ill should be aut off witli a despised teaboards of white cedur,, which he was shilling?"
inlaying with flowers of red for the fastidious Mrs. “I was standing at the door when you said it, Mathewson, as his daughter stepped lightly in. sir," answered Bessy.
“Welcome backt, Bessy,” he said; "how is “And what makes you throw away your chance, cousin Nat this moming ?" child? You know I'll keep my word,” said Nat. Very ill, father; and not in a good frame of Norton, who was by this time as much the spoiled münd either, I fear," said Bessy; " he still talks child of fortune as many a flattered monarch. of his money, and told me what great chances I
“ Because," said Bessy, in a mild but firm tone, had lost, but he has given me leave to look after " all the wealth of this world is nothing compared him; and indeed, father, his room is very comfortwith the blessing of God, which I could not expect less.' if I neglected my duty to you as a relation."
Ay,” said Jonathan, “ money does grow into Well, Bessy,” said Nat, gazing on her with the mind sometimes. He thinks, no doubt, that genuine amazement, “I always thought you every one sets as much store by it as himself. Comfortless enough he must be, I dare say: What said ?" inquired Annie, into whose mind the legacy a queer whim that is he has taken !" Here the had entered. latch was lifted by a familiar hand, and Annie “ I'm sure he was. He told me the same thing rushed in with her cloak and bonnet carelessly to-day; but it will interfere with no one but my. flung on, her eyes very red, and a bundle in her self," added Bessy, as her sister stared reproachhand.
fully upon her. "What's the matter, Annie ?” said Jonathan, "Never mind, Annie,” said Jonathan, taking at once perceiving that something was wrong. his seat at the breakfast table ; " Bessy is in the
" I'm come home to you and Bessy, father,” right, though I don't expect you to do the same. said Annie, as she sat down, sobbing; “I can't It is well we can live without either a legacy or stand these people any longer.”'
the Mathewsons.” “ You are welcome, my girl,” said Jonathan, Annie sat down to breakfast with a very dissatiswhose reflections had taught him moderation. fied mind. She thought Bessy was doing a most ab"What have the people done ?"
surd thing, and wondered her father could approve With great minateness, and much excitement, of it. Her confidence in Bessy's wisdom had been poor Annie proceeded to relate what all Troy by always great, but now it seemed sadly misplaced. this time knew (for there never was a town in Wasn't it the old man's wish that he should be which tidings of such a kind travelled faster)—how left alone ? and what right had any one to oppose a neighbour had told Mrs. Mathewson that Bessy his wish? So reasoned all the relatives, and so had actually gone to see old Nat; whereupon that reasoned Annie. There is nothing so ingenious as lady remarked that Bessy was very forward to do human selfishness in discovering justice on its own the like, when his own superior relations were side. At all events, the younger sister was deterstaying at home, and that their cousin wasn't the mined to take care of her particular interest in man to put such low people out of their senses with Nat's testament. With this intent she stayed a legacy. This announcement just followed upon safely at home while Bessy went on her mission a series of faults found with Annie for wearing a of mercy to Norton's house. Her morning and handsome shawl which had been her dead mother's evening visits became longer day by day, for Nat gift, and which happened to resemble Mrs. Ma- was manifestly sinking: Perhaps the inexperience thewson's, for braiding her hair like Miss Louisa's, in illness to which I liave alluded prevented his and for having such an unbecomingly smart noticing the approach of the last enemy. He still bonnet. There is no doubt that, tinged as she saw tenants, received rents, and made agreements was with vanity, fostered probably by a recollection concerning the repair of houses and the reclamaof her former circumstances, the girl did assume tion of land; yet there was a dull fear in his mind, more than her present position as a domestic and he liked to see Bessy in his room. Nat didn't servant would warrant; but when she heard her say it, but the old man's eye brightened when she family termed low, her patience fairly broke down. came, and his words were always kind in taking Unlike her gentle sister, she possessed not "the leave. ornament of a meek and quiet spirit," and had not In the meantime, Troy was kept lively by the learned the useful lesson that “ a soft answer agitations of Nat's kindred. That it was very bold turneth away wrath." Accordingly, losing her in Bessy to visit their sick cousin, the latter were self-command, she began to rebuke Miss Louisa all agreed, except Mrs. Woodward, who, having with all the severity of a free-born American, and written to her son on the subject, when he was speedily brought down on herself the combined studying hard for an examination at our New attack of both mother and daughter, who were England Cambridge, was more than astonished to known to be anything but genteel in their anger. find that Westland highly approved of the girls Doctor Adolphus tried to make peace. Annie conduct. The three old ladies, therefore, remained always alleged he was the best of them; but it undecided regarding her boldness; but there was wouldn't do; and at length, fairly driven off the enough besides to employ their minds. The war field by superior scolding, she fled for refuge to between the concerned households touching their Skim-lane.
respective shares in the approaching legacy had Annie wound up her narrative with a declara- become almost open. Each selfish expectant said tion that she wished to remain and work with a variety of things in contempt of the other's claim, Bessy. “Who knew, after all,” she said, “that occasionally introducing matters which had little they mightn't be the better for old Norton's will ?” to do with the subject. In short, what the apostle but the words failed on Annie's lips, as now, for terms “the unruly member and world of iniquity" the first time, Bessy's cloak and bonnet caught was in great occupation among them, and might
have kindled a fire not easy to quench, but for an “Surely it is not true what they told me, Bessy? anexpected settlement of the dispute. One evenYou didn't do such a thing, to injure us all !” she ing, when Bessy reached old Norton's door later cried in renewed vexation.
than usual, Cæsar admitted her with a troubled Yes, Annie,” said Bessy, “I went to see our look. Oh, Miss Betty, I'm glad you're come !" consin. I saw them all go away yesterday and said the negro, who followed his master's example leave the old man alone with his negro servant. in everything; massa has been very bad. Old The whole day it was on my mind; and last night, Hawkes has been closed up with him all day, after our family prayer was over, 1 thought that, makin' him’s will or something, and he has sent a since nobody else would, it was my duty to go and boy off for Doctor Wandsworth.” see what I could do for him. I told my father Bessy knew what sending for Doctor Wandsthis morning, and he had no objections.”
worth meant. He was a physician of great repute Do you think Nat was in earnest in what he and extensive practice, whose residence was some
ten miles off, and being our highest medical autho- scarcely waiting for permission, Bessy read on till rity, was generally called in when other doctors the close of the parable. failed. She hastened to Nat's room, and found “ The cares of this world and the deceitfulness that a great change for the worse had passed over of riches," repeated Nat, as she paused. “There him. His breathing was hard, and his face blue was an earnest preacher whom I heard discourse and pallid.
on that text long ago. Bessy, I wish I had read " You're late to-day, child, and I'm worn out with the bible and minded religion when I was young, making my will. It's there in the desk: but they like you." may have to wait a while for their legacies yet;" It is not too late, cousin,” said Bessy ; " you and Norton's eye rested with a keen, searching know Him who is able to save to the uttermost, glance on Bessy. Often had she tried to direct his the Lord our righteousness." attention from the money and lands he must leave “Lord, have mercy on me!-what is this?" so soon, to his soul's interest in the eternal heri- cried Norton. There were other words, lost in a tags; but Nat had hitherto heard every reference hoarse, gurgling sound, for a great internal vessel to that subject with the apathy of seventy years' had given way, and the dark blood was staining hardening. He had served and loved the world so coverlet and pillow. Cæsar, who had spread his long, had become so expert in its traffic, and so mattress in the other room, rushed in at Bessy's wealthy with its gains, that there seemed no room call. They tried to raise the old man, but a spasm in his mind for spiritual impressions; and the pros- of suffocation convulsed his features. There was pect of death only made him anxious to settle a quivering of the still strong frame, a long gasp his affairs as he would a bargain, to his own liking. or two, and Nat Norton was gone from his riches
A heavy sense of that fact fell on Bessy with his and his relations. look, and she said in reply, while adjusting his With great awe upon her spirit, Bessy closed his pillow: "I hope they don't think so much of eyes, while Cæsar, scarce knowing what he did, money. It cannot buy everything in this life, and ran for the doctor. By the time that gentleman has no power in the life to come."
was woke up, half our town was made aware of “No, girl, it can't buy everything,” said Nat, the event, and while Bessy knelt at the bedside, as if struck by the new idea ; " it can't make one praying, "Lord, shew me the end and measure of young, or well again; but it can bring doctors, my days," the Mathewsons broke in with garand lawyers, and clergy, for that matter". ments hastily assumed, and loud lamentations for Here Cæsar entered, with the intelligence that his their dear cousin. They were followed by the messenger had returned, but Doctor Wandsworth Weatheralls in still more demonstrative grief; in was gone on a distant call, and couldn't come the midst of which, old Hawkes the lawyer walked sooner than by noon next day.
quietly in, and put his seal on the deceased's desk Money cannot always bring doctors either; and papers. but it is useful, and my friends know it. How Bessy felt that her duty was done; and after rebusy they would have been about me by this time; lating the particulars of the old man's departure but I took care of that !” said Norton, in a tone of with as much calmness as her audience would self-gratulation, as his eyes closed and he dropped permit, she took her cloak, bonnet, and bible, and into a sort of doze. Bessy moved quietly about proceeded homeward through the quiet streets, the room, put things in their places, prepared his followed by Cæsar as a voluntary escort. He had supper, poured out his medicine, and then, kneeling made no lamentation, said nothing, even when the down in a corner out of sight, she prayed for con- doctor pronounced Norton quite dead; but when viction and light to that darkened soul. Still Nat Bessy looked behind, she perceived the negro's slept, but his face had the same ghastly look. tears were falling fast. Bessy felt she should not leave him, and stealing “ It's not for the place or the wages, Miss," said out, the considerate girl gave widow Gray's little Cæsar ; but he was a good master to me, and we boy three cents to run and tell Annie that old kept house so well together; I'll never see his Norton was worse, and she would sit up with him like." all night. Then Bessy returned to her place be- Bessy tried to comfort the poor fellow, and spoke side the lamp, and, taking out the pocket bible she to him also of the shortness of life, and the necesalways brought with her, tried to read, but her sity of preparation for that long journey which all thoughts were sadly troubled. She had seen sick- must take ; but when she reached her father's ness and death before, and with far deeper sorrow, door, the girl felt thankful that there was at least -for no one could be said to lament Nat Norton; one who unfeignedly regretted poor Norton. but her mother's departure was not like this. It was generally admitted in Troy, that Nat's reBessy knew not what to do; yet, as she read the latives behaved with great decorum on the occasion, sayings of Him who "spake as never man spake," though some individual anxiety regarding the will peace came down upon her thoughts. The old oozed out at times. Nothing could be gathered man's sleep seemed to grow more composed. She from old Hawkes, who, with an immoveable coun. heard the little town gradually becoming still as tenance, assured everybody that they would see how the night wore on. Cæsar had gone to rest by her their interests had been cared for at the proper desire, for he had little the previous night, and she time. The house in Homer-street could not be was silently reading the parable of the Sower, called one of mourning ; but there was no want of when Nat looked up as hard and keen as ever, ex. black serge and crape, darkened windows, and declaiming, “ Oh, my good girl, how you are losing mure looks. The funeral board—I had almost said your time here!
feast - was spread, and a stone-cutter received "My time is not lost, cousin,” said Bessy;"I orders to commemorate Nat's many virtues and am reading the bible. Shall I read to you ? " and, the sorrow of survivors. The plumed hearse, fol.