I. T. Hopkins.

Judge Havisham's will online

. (page 3 of 16)
Online LibraryI. T. HopkinsJudge Havisham's will → online text (page 3 of 16)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

are grown to be, Wynt!" she said. "Papa, do
you remember how you used to caution me
against ' naughty pride ' ? What do you expect
when you sweep me into town with such a young
cousin as this handling the reins? You'll have
to find some way of taking me down afterward.
And where is that charming little Cyp? Ah, I
see!' You did not mean to let me have every-
thing, after all."

u Oh, he's occupied. Some mischief in your
room, I think. He 's not the scrap of a youngster
you left, Vivian. He 's chasing hard after Wynt.
You '11 have two full-grown young men here to
walk out with you before long. But where 's
that husband of yours?"

"Oh, not very far behind. He will follow
on, certainly; I'll not be cruel to him very long.
But what do you think I had the hardihood to
tell him, papa dear? That comes of all your
early instructions about not concealing the truth.
I told him I wanted you all to myself for Ifcittle
while!" And she laid her hand with a half-play-
ful, half-caressing gesture upon the judge's arm.
"All to myself! Do you think, papa, you can
give me some of those dear old walks and talks


we used to have? just we two? I miss them so.
It will make me fancy myself a girl again."

A strange mingled expression came into Judge
Havisham's face. "Miss them?" How he had
missed them! But were the boys

But before he had time to answer Vivian had
turned to Wynt with her charming grace. "And
you too, Wynt! You will take me out some-
times, will you not? How proud I shall be.
And Cyp Oh, there the little fellow is. What
a little prince!" as a face, very much mixed up
in a bough of apple-blossoms, peeped anxiously
from a window at the sound of the wheels. He
was overtaken in his work. If he had but one
half-minute more!

He hurried on, his fingers trembling with
haste, but there was time enough. Vivian had
her greetings to give every one and everything
as she came in.

" Ah, the dear old home! Lovelier than ever,

And then there was Bent, and Burnham, and
even Barbie was in the background. Miss
Vivian never had entered the old house yet that
she had not stood by with her respects. And by
that time Cyp was flying down.

Wynt smiled quietly to himself as Vivian put
her arm round the boy and drew him, for a mo-
ment, to her side. He could almost see Cyp's
heart stand still.


"Ah, old fellow," he thought, "I believe
everybody's right and you've got to be an artist
by-and-by; you do think such a heap of good
looks in people or things. If she were as homely
as Burnham, now! Well, I like to look at her
as well as you do; but I shall take mighty good
care to keep you out of the way whenever uncle
is in the house. You can do your admiring when
there is no one else about." And he kept to his

There was less company than usual at the
house the next few days. " You know I 'm just
here for a quiet visit, papa," Vivian said once or
twice in an incidental way; and there were only
a few callers and one unceremonious dinner for
some gentlemen of the bar. At these times Wynt
gave up watching; Cyp might be on the piazza,
on the lawn, in the library, or wherever else it
was proper for him to appear; but at others there
was a most unusual number of engrossing plans
an excursion or a long walk or a lesson in riding
Blackwing, and for the evening a book with such
an exciting point in it somewhere that Cyp got
lost in the dining-room corner where he always
huddled up to read. For a few days this would
not be noticed, Wynt thought, but he was not
sure how long it would work.

"You youngsters are mightily occupied," his
uncle said at last, with one of those sudden swift
glances that were his way when a thing began to


flash upon him ; but he was almost as much occu-
pied himself. These "walks and talks" of Viv-
ian's absorbed most of his free time, and he al-
most gave himself up to the fancy that old days
had returned again.

Bent saw everything, as an old servant will
and must, whether he wishes it or not.

"Forty years of caring for the people in a
house makes you know them pretty well," he
said to Barbie, as he found her with Mab one
night; "and Mr. Thorpe's step hasn't been so
light and quick for many a day; not since those
wedding bells rang that lost us Miss Vivian out
of the house."

"Wont she stay this time, don't you think?"
asked Mab with a sort of pleading in her brown
eyes. "She wont have the heart to go away
again after this, father, should you say?"

Bent only shook his head. He would not say
so, certainly, to Mab; but there were a great
many things he did not say to her. "Many a
secret of the Havisham House conies to old Bent,
willy-nilly," he used to say, "but it comes to
stay. It walks in without knocking, but it finds
the door locked when it wants to get out"

Miss Vivian would go, he was sure, when she
had stayed long enough for her purpose, whatever
that might be. Bent had never known her do
anything without a purpose yet, or fail to carry
one out when once taken up. As for "having


the heart," did not even Mab, who believed
every one to be as good as herself, know that
"heart" did not seem to come very often into
Miss Vivian's plans?

However, so long as Mr. Thorpe was enjoying
so much, Bent was happy. Troubles might as
well lie by, if there were any, for a few days.




DOWN in tb heart of the town ran a broad
street in which the principal business of Edin-
burgh Heights was done. Not an attractive
street altogether, though some rather fine build-
ings with handsome fronts had grown up among
the older and dingier ones. One of these gave up
its second floor to the law office of Havisham and
Wilkie, while the first floor was taken by the
warehouse of Brainerd and Gray. This was a
handsome establishment with a general air of get-
ting a little in advance of style in the Heights.
Its rooms were separated only by pillars and
arches, its windows made a fine display, and
there seemed always a good deal going on inside;
enough, certainly, to keep a well-satisfied, rather
important look among the salesmen moving

Wynt was passing it one afternoon with rather
an abstracted look. His uncle had called Cyp to
"pile in," as he and Vivian drove out of the
yard, and had whirled him off between them,
leaving Wynt berating himself that he had not
taken more care. He knew the carriage was or-
dered for that drive. Why couldn't he have
kept Cyp out of the way ?

Jv'.tt IUT!ihm'i Will. 1


" However, perhaps I 'm wrong. He may not
be a nuisance for once in a way. Vivian gave
him a smile, at least, that set him up sky-high,
and it 's no use worrying anyway. Oh, it 's you,
eh?" as he heard his name called and was over-
taken by Lee Brainerd, who had just come out of
the store.

"I suppose so," answered Lee, "but I don't
feel quite sure. I do n't believe you 'd know who
you were yourself, if you got shut up in that old

"Aren't you liking it any better, then? I
thought you 'd concluded to be a business man
with a will."

Lee gave a suppressed little exclamation that
seemed to convey a good deal. "'Concluding'
means finding that you can't help yourself some-
times, as I suppose you have found out. You
know it was a heavy grind on me always to work
at anything but books. I would have worked at
those if they 'd let me. But there was no chance.
I 'm to have an interest in the old prison at twen-
ty-one, and be full partner at twenty-five, and I
thought I could fight through till that time if I
took the bit square in my teeth. But the more I
see of it the more I find it 's all the same thing.
Partner or youngest clerk, it 's grind, grind, at
the same old wheel."

u I thought partners lived in office easy-
chairs," answered Wynt laughingly, really trou-


bled at the cloud upon Lee's face; but Lee's
tones were even more bitter as he replied,

"And what then? You're simply writing
down how many easy-chairs and rugs you have
sold to somebody else. Bah! I tell you, Wynt,
twenty-one years old will never see me there.
I'll be driven out if I can't get out any other
way. I always have meant to behave myself,
but I believe I '11 give it up. If people wont let
you live, anyway, you may as well ''

"Look here!" interrupted Wyiit, passing his
arm through Lee's, "what's the use of talking a
lot of stuff that you don't mean? A man that's
a man can ' live ' if they put him down in a coal
mine, I suppose, and you and I want to be men
together by-and-by, you know. I'm sorry it
goes so hard just now, but I'll tell you a thing
Cyp got off the other day. He says, ' Hold on
tighter the harder things pull.' "

The frown between Lee's brows seemed to
loosen a little. "Cyp? What does a young
rascal like him know about holding on ? He 's
got nothing to do with it yet"

"Not much, but his day '11 come. He just
made a hit, that's all. Not a very bad one
either, eh?"

Lee's brow contracted again. ' ' Do n' t preach,
Wynt. It 's easy work, but lazy as I am, I don't
like it. I should like to see you try what 'pull-
ing' means at a place like Brainerd and Gray's."


"Perhaps you will some day," answered
Wynt so quietly that Lee looked suddenly into
his face; but he could not read it and they walked

"Come up to the house," Wynt said pres-
ently; " take a canter with Black wing, and he '11
toss the blues out of you and bring you back all

"No, thank you. It's no use pretending to
be some one else for half an hour and then com-
ing back to the old grind. I '11 stick where I am.
There conies Jem Dent, our porter. I believe
he's found life isn't worth having in the store
as well as I. He used to be a merry sort of fel-
low. What do you suppose is making him look
so black ? I 've noticed him for a week."

" He does look rather down," said Wynt after
they passed; Jem had only given a quick nod to
to the two without lifting his eyes. " You can't
very well call him black, though, with that yel-
low hair of his. I wonder what it is." And his
thoughts ran across to Mab's cottage by the gate.
No; Mab was certainly all right He had seen
her at the window twice within a week. " Come,
Lee," he repeated; "come up to the house. I 'm
all alone there for an hour."

" No. The truth is, I'm out on an errand for
the store. I've a dozen minds to forget it, though.
Forgetfulness is a good quality to cultivate if you
want to work yourself out of a place."


Wynt went home with a troubled feeling that
he could not shake off, though he tried to per-
suade himself that it was unnecessary after all.

" He can't mean it," he said to himself. "It
must be just a mood he has got into to-day, when
he likes to hear himself talk. I do n't wonder it
does seem ( a mill ' once in a while, but he knows
as well as I do that ' holding on ' does make a
man of a fellow in the end. He 's all right,
though, I am sure; he must be. But I don't
like that look he had to-day. I wish they would
let him off, but I suppose they can't see it. He 's
the only one in the whole family who does not
like a store, and very likely they think it's a

He turned into the yard abstractedly ; he
would take Blackwing himself, he thought, and
he had nearly reached the stable door before he
saw that the carriage had returned and the horses
were in their stalls again.

" Waite," he said, "have my uncle and Mrs.
Adrian ce come in so soon?"

1 ' Yes, sir. Mrs. Adriance changed her mind
and did not care to go far to-day."

Wynt bit his lips. Had Cyp spoiled the
drive ? He must see where he was now, at least,
and he went quickly into the house.

There was no one in the library; could they
be in the drawing-room? No; and he stepped
towards a door leading from that room to the


piazza. The door opened close upon a sheltered
nook, screened from the rest of the piazza by
vines, and voices from behind the screen fell
upon his ear. His uncle's sounded earnest and
almost excited, while Vivian's answered in those
same smooth, daintily modulated tones that were
part of her fascination at all times.

"I say, as I've said before, I do not agree
with you, Vivian. Why do you worry me about

" Dear papa, if there is any subject that
worries you, let us never mention it again. But
think what Rugby has done for English boys.
You surely feel that there is no such soil as school
life to make a thorough, manly "

Wynt had turned and was half across the
drawing-room again, on his escape, before he
could leave the rest of the sentence behind.
Through the library and the dining-room door he

Yes, there was Cyp in his old corner, and deep
in that book again !

Wynt went over to him, got him out with a
quick little lift, and sat down with him in his
arms. "So that is the way you go driving, is it,
young man?"

Cyp laughed; but something in Wynt's face
caught his notice, and he put his hand quickly up
against it. " Your face is hot as fire ! What 's
the matter with it?" he said.


Wynt took his hand down and held it quietly.
"Tell me where you went, Cyp."

"Oh, only out to the Giant's Fall. Vivian
was tired, she said. I say, though, Wynt, isn't
she fine ! She had her arm round me all the




THE conversation Wynt had so hurriedly left
was turned, almost instantly afterwards, by
Vivian's skilful tact. There was only one more
velvety sentence that might drop an additional
weight, and she glided off into a running series
of sketches of her last two months among the

" And if I come home in the fall to stay, dear
papa, as it will be so lovely to do, there will be
a good many friends, you know, at different
times, and do you really think so much petting
and distraction is good for boys ? They are such
dear fellows. Every one would have to notice
them, you know."

That evening Bent served the dinner with the
feeling that a shadow had fallen somewhere,
wherever that might be. Vivian and Cyp were
in the best of spirits, and with a merry banter
going on between them that kept Cyp in sup-
pressed but continual glee. Wynt was silent
much of the time, but that was too much his
way to notice. It was Mr. Thorpe who did not
seem like himself.

The old butler ventured one or two quiet


glances into his face, but he hardly needed even
those; it was " in the air."

He stole one at Vivian as she sat, looking
never handsomer, in her graceful evening dress,
her color fresh and her eyes sparkling at Cyp.
Her "fatigue" of the afternoon seemed to have
vanished away.

"She's done it though," said Bent silently
to himself. "She's laid a touch somewhere
that 's just clouded in the special bright time
she 'd been making Mr. Thorpe for a week. I
said she had a plan. I said she never came
home this quiet way without one, and she 's been
feeling its way along till she 's touched a tender
spot. I know ! I have n't kissed her in her
babyhood, and carried her in my arms many
a day after, and watched her every day since,
without knowing her as well as I love her,
and I love her well. But she never wanted
anything yet that she didn't get it, in all those

Another week passed, and Bent's reflections
only deepened and strengthened. The week
following was to bring Mr. Adriance and a gay
troop, and why wasn't "Mr. Thorpe" making
the most of this? To every one's eye but Bent's,
and perhaps to Wynt's, he was doing so ; but
even \Vynt felt that there was a pressure some-
where something troubled his uncle. Some-
thing was certainly weighing, that had shaded


off that light-hearted delight of Vivian's first
week at home.

" Yes; I could n't keep Tom off any longer,"
Vivian was saying, with her well-bred little half-
laugh. "He'll be sweeping in the moment my
two weeks are up, and bringing a few friends,
dear papa. You are always so kind; I don't
feel the least hesitation in taxing hospitality

And as the day approached Bent found him-
self wishing it would make haste. u I 'd rather
see Mr. Thorpe whirled out of his quiet and
peace, as he will be, than to see that look he
don't mean any one to see getting stronger and
deeper in his face. And I'd rather the house
had been left in its loneliness a hundred times.
Well, whatever it is, I hope he'll forget it when
Miss Vivian and her troop are gone. I never
knew trouble seem to lie long on the threshold
with Mr. Thorpe."

The next day, now, was to bring the " troop,"
as Bent called the expected visitors. Burnham
had been overflowing with importance, and room
after room had been left in immaculate "spick
and span" by her hands, till even Barbie and
Vivian were satisfied. Bent had got out his extra
silver and table linen, and even his extreme ima-
gination could see no finishing touch wanting in
his own sphere when evening came.

So if the judge and Miss Vivian would only


coiae in from the walk slie had asked him to
take, Bent would go home to Mab. Mab needed
all the heartening she could get, poor child, since
Jem's visits had dropped off.

He grew almost impatient. Miss Vivian was
having one last talk with Mr. Thorpe, he was
sure; but still it was late to be out, in the damp-
ness of an evening like this.

Then suddenly he was glad of it, after all.
There was the gas in the east parlor. Miss
Vivian always liked to find it lighted when she
came in, and it had gone "clean out of mind"

He seized his torch and went with his usual
noiseless step into the forgotten room. The
judge's private study opened from it, a heavy
Eastern drapery, that Vivian had brought him
from abroad, curtaining it off. As he passed this
he started as a low, smoothly modulated voice
fell upon his ear.

"And so, dear papa, wont you yield to my
judgment for this once? Wont you promise me
this one thing ? You surely could trust me, when
I know your wishes so well."

Bent turned to flee, as Wynt had done a few
days before, but he could not get out of hearing
before the answer came.

"Very well, Vivian, I promise, if you cannot
be happy otherwise. And now let us not mention
the subject again while you stay. Let me have


your visit in. peace. When you are gone I

That was the last word Bent caught. He was
safe across the hall and in his dining-room, with
the door closed fast behind him, before any more
could have been spoken.

He got his hat and went down the steps of
the little back porch leading to the carriage
drive. He could not go to Mab yet; she would
surely see trouble in his face. Where could he

He walked back and forth little distances on
the driveway hurriedly, and then got under the
shadow of a giant old willow and leaned against
the trunk; then out again, and over to the rail-
ing of the little fish-pond, farther on.

u I 'm sure it means trouble," he said over and
over to himself with a little moan. ' ' Not that
I can think, or would think, what it may be, but
it's there. Mr. Thorpe never refused her any-
thing yet, nor can't; but he'd never have kept
her pleading if he hadn't felt there was trouble
in what she asked. And who is there left to feel
trouble in the family now but Mr. Wynt and Mr.
Cyp? Yet it can't be he would let even her
bring anything on them !"

Bent took a little stone that lay on the railing
and plashed it down into the pond below. Then
he walked over to the old willow again and then
restlessly back to the rail. Somehow he did not


feel ready for Mab yet. Picture after picture of
past days in the old house rose before his eyes
bright, joyous ones among them, but the dark
ones seemed to stand foremost to-night.

" And scarcely ever one of them," he went on,
"scarcely ever one of them need have come ex-
cept when it pleased the Lord to send the still
messenger in if some one had n't failed of ' hold-
ing on,' as Mr. Cyp might say, to the right and
the true. I may be mistaken I know I'm a
foolish old man but it weighs on me that Mr.
Thorpe has let go something to-night. I'm
afraid he hasn't been \holding on tighter the
harder things pull.' But no," and he brought
himself up with an indignant little shake; "it
would be the first time in his life you ever knew
it of him, would n't it ? You ought to be ashamed
of yourself, Bent!"

He gave his hat a determined little push back-
ward, till a stray lock or two of his fine silver hair
made its way out. There had been enough of
this, he thought; and he started for the cottage
with a quick step.

Mab looked up with a bright smile. "You 're
late, father dear," she said. "But I suppose
you've had fine doings to get ready for at the
house. ' '

Bent glanced into her face with a quick look.
There was a clear light shining in it that he could
not mistake. " S/ie J s all right!" he said hastily


to himself. "She's not one there's need to be
worrying about any more, at least. She's got
her Lord's hand again, that 's clear, faster and
faster every day."

" Yes, child," he answered, "fine doings and
high doings, we may be pretty sure. We do n't
see Mr. Torn Adriance bring a company into a
house with less. But we're ready for them, and
they can be young but once. I don't forget that.
I like them to take all they can."

"Father," said Mab again suddenly, "who
do you think I had in here to-day?"

Bent looked at her quickly. Was it possible
Jem could that be what was keeping her up?
" It 's not some one that has put that bright look
in your face, eh?" he asked.

Mab blushed crimson. "No, father, no!"
she said hastily. "Not if you mean some one
who wont come any more. If I've got any
bright look, it's because I'm 'holding on' bet-
ter again. What a queer thing that was for Mr.
Cyp to have said ! We '11 all be repeating it after
him, I believe."

" I don't know what we could repeat better.
But who is it that was in ? You have n't told me

" It was Miss Vivian."

" Miss Vivian ?" asked Bent hastily.

"Yes; why not?"

"Oh, no reason at all," he answered, covering


his little start as well as he could. "And what
did she have to say ?' '

U I can't tell you more than I ever can. I
never know what she has said when she's gone,
though I listen while she's here as if I had a
spell. She brought me this bit of a soft shawl to
throw round me; see, it 's like a net." And Mab
held up the filmy pink thing. "And I can copy
the stitch and knit more. My needles are just
longing for something new. But she did say one
thing, father, that came across me as strange.
She spoke of Mr. Wynt and Mr. Cyp, and how
fine they were, and that Mr. Thorpe was enjoying
their visit here so much. It doesn't concern me,
I know, but I always took the idea they were
made at home in Havisham House."

Bent did not try to cover his start this time.
He sprang up and looked excitedly at Mab.
" Now the contrary of that can't be said by any-
body. They are at home in the house, if I ever
understood Mr. Thorpe's meaning about anything
yet," he said.




THE "gay doings" Mab had talked of began
in good earnest the next day. There was a quiet
elegance about it all, of course, for Vivian could
not do a thing in any other way; but a merry,
light-hearted set of people rode and walked and
chatted and filled the house in one way and
another, and for the time every shadow seemed
to vanish away.

If anything had weighed on the judge, it was,
to all appearance, thrown aside and forgotten.
He was the handsome, dignified host, but good
company for the youngest, for all that And
there was no more hiding away of Cyp; he was
called here and there by every one, " spoiled alto-
gether," Vivian said, shaking a jewelled finger
at him playfully; and Mr. Adriance had taken an
extraordinary liking to Wynt and wanted him in

4 'Really, Tom," Vivian laughed, "for a but-
terfly, time-wasting fellow like you, that silent,
dark boy is a strange fancy, it seems to me. If I
find you shaded down anywhere at the end of the
month, I shall know where the benefit came in."

" Do n't concern yourself about me, ' ' answered


Tom. "The boy has stuff in him that I like.
Wynt ! Where are you, there ? I want you to
help me throw my new trout-fly over at the fall.

1 3 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16

Online LibraryI. T. HopkinsJudge Havisham's will → online text (page 3 of 16)