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Judge Havisham's will online

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Burnham had been bustling about, looking
actually almost handsome in the zeal and enthu-
siasm with which she assured herself that all was

Judite HavUban'l Will. 2O


as it should be in the house. And Barbie fol-
lowed here and there, feasting her dark eyes. The
boys of the young mistress she had loved so long
and yet so little while ago would be at home in
their mother's home now, at least till the youngest
should be a man. They should tread the same
floors her dainty foot had trod, and step only
where they had a right. They should sleep
where she had slept, and the morning sun should
wake them streaming through the same windows
where she had loved to have it enter; and they
should be taking only what was their own.

But there was still another joy that was stir-
ring her old heart till her lips could not keep
still. Not a sound did she let any one hear, but
she whispered the words noiselessly a hundred
times to herself :

u No, there's no stain left on that name any
more ! It's just taken clean off for ever more.
Thorpe Havisham was never a name that could
carry a stain. One could n't hold on there. Who
ever said it could? Just clean off, for ever
more !"

And Bent !

Bent would not have cared if a hundred people
"had called him old or out of style just now. He
was too redundant in happiness to trouble him-
self about a thing like that; and moreover in his
own bones he felt that the youth of thirty years
ago had come back.


The young gentlemen were to have "the old
servants" to look after them, were they? Miss
Vivian was to feel safe about them on that ac-

Very well! She should see when she came
back, and the whole world might look in, in the
meantime, if they liked.

And he almost reproached himself that Mab's
face would keep coming before his eyes, too, as
he bustled about over his silver and linen or get-
ting the fine china down again into use.

"It's not the thing, as I know, to be letting
my own affairs come up at a time like this, Mr.
Wynt," he said. " But if you could notice the
color getting back into Mab's cheeks over there!
And it's not all that's come back, the color isn't,
as you might say. There's no girl had ever a
tenderer lover, nor a stronger, than Jem 's come
round again nor a humbler one, at the same
time, as well. He can't seem to find fault
enough with himself for the strange freak that
took hold of him for a while. And if Mab keeps
on doing as the doctor looks for her to do, I don't
see why she mightn't "

"Take Jem into the cottage some day?'*
asked Wynt, finishing the sentence where Bent
seemed to stick. "I'm sure I do n't see either.
You 've got a ( two or three years' ' lease of it, at
the least, and we'll renew that when it is out, if
I don't very much mistake."


Wynt had been going quietly on at the store
up to this time, only asking that he might get
back to Cyp an hour or so earlier at night. He
did not know why he should not keep at work,
certainly, and there was no applicant for the
place at this moment who was acceptable to
Brainerd and Gray. It would require a pretty
strong reason, of course, to take him away from
his post at inconvenience to them.

And what to do next was a question that
wanted a little deliberation, too. Mr. Wilkie
left it a good deal to his decision, though his own
wishes were made plain enough as to study in
the office, either now or at a later day. The
later day, naturally, would be after college, for
which Wynt was already well fitted. But Cyp
could not go to college, and how was he to be
left behind ?

Wynt might take a year or two of tutoring at
home, and then begin at law; Mr. Wilkie would
never rest till he saw him make his start at that.
Or he might read in the office a year at once, so
gaining time while they waited for Cyp to grow
stouter, or for things to come round in any way
so that Wynt need not feel his only place to be
beside him.

u But take your time to think it over," Mr.
Wilkie had said. " Haste makes waste, gener-
ally, where it is not absolutely called for; and
there 's no hurry here. Only I want to show the


bar, as soon as possible, that I've brought them
the most promising young lawyer they 've had
offered them in many a long day."

Wynt smiled quietly in return, hardly lifting
his eyes from a book Mr. Wilkie had taken down
"just to give him a taste." " You may find I 'm
as stupid as that horse of Jem Dent's, that eats
straw out of the freight boxes and munches it
comfortably for oats," he said.

"Well, some young fellows might have no-
ticed that a will was not witnessed," was the
reply. "Still, allowance may be made for en-
thusiasm or any little weakness of that kind, in
a given case."

Brainerd and Gray's, meantime, had carried
its share in the effect the finding of the "last
will " had directly or indirectly produced.

Warnock opened his lips to no one about it;
his sentiments and sensations were such as he
preferred keeping to himself. The partners con-
gratulated Wynt and regretted his probable loss
equally, divided between this and the unques-
tionable and most positive change that had ap-
peared in Lee; and Mr. Brainerd could not com-
fortably forgive himself for the injustice he had
so carelessly shown Wynt

"Apology can't quite cover it," he could not
help feeling and saying to himself. "And it's
as hard to forgive Warnock for blinding me as
myself for letting him do it, too. I can't con-


ceive what his motive could have been. Havi-
sham never can have wronged him, and he must
have known, in his conscience, that he had
wronged no one else. Somehow I have not had
my old confidence in that fellow of late; this
knocks out the bottom from under him a good
deal. I shall find a way to get rid of his services
before many months go by."

u We shall lose Havisham of course now, I
suppose," Mr. Gray said, when the subject came
up. "He has not quite said he would go, if I

"No; but it is the same thing. Whether he
goes or stays, though, I believe I have him ta
thank for taking off the greatest trouble I had.
He 's got hold of Lee somehow at last, for good,
if appearances promise the truth."

" Is that Havisham ? Can he work miracles ?
I 've been thinking one must have taken hold of
Lee, the last two weeks. We shall lose him too,
if this keeps up, shall we not? You'll have no
excuse for tying him back from that college life
he's pining for, eh?"

"I hope I may not, most sincerely," was the
quiet reply.

As for Lee himself, every day Wynt remained
in the store was* one more treasured " white one "
for him. "What it will ever be when you are
gone out of it," he said, "it isn't worth while
to think. But I '11 tell you one thing; if I have


to grit my teeth to do it, I'm never going to let
the whole thing, and Warnock in the midst of it,
make my life miserable for me. I 'm just going
ahead, straight, for whatever work my day finds
put into it, with no questions asked, and the
comfort of knowing I 've done it well and re-
spected myself when I get through. I made up
my mind that if there was enough to satisfy you
in that, there was enough for me, and I 'd try to
strike in. It works well, too, so far. I bob
round like a cork where I used to go under and
suffocate, every time."

Wynt raised his eyes and looked searchingly
into his friend's face. "I don't believe that's
the whole of it either, Lee."

"Well, it's not then, if you will have it all
out I could n't stand what you said about some
One who had shown a bigger heart and stood
under more for me than you. But I didn't take
any stock in those things; I told you the truth;
so I concluded to 'go and talk to Him about it,'
as you said, and I did * find out' Found out the
beginning of a few things at least, I mean;
enough to make me feel I never want to let go."

"No!" said Wynt, his dark face lighted sud-
denly with one of his flashing smiles. "Hold
on, and hold on tighter, for ever, the harder
things pull!"


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Online LibraryI. T. HopkinsJudge Havisham's will → online text (page 16 of 16)