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We'll be back in good time for dinner, if we can
get off at once."

Judge Havisham stood on the porch and
watched them off with more satisfaction than he
allowed to show itself in his face.

"I didn't think Tom would cotton so to
Wynt," he said almost elatedly to himself. "I
knew every one would like the youngsters, both
of them; I was safe about that. But I should have
said Cyp was the one Adriance was likely to pick
up like this. He couldn't please me better,
though. I hope they'll be more like brothers
than cousins some day."

But four summer weeks do not take long for
flight. Almost before any one consented to say
so they were drawing to a close, and plans for
the next move must be made and spoken of. The
guests were to scatter in different directions, and
Vivian must see Norway. That had been left out
by unlucky circumstances last year, and there was
just time now.

" Only a summer trip, papa," she said gayly.
" You '11 hardly know I am gone. Autumn will
steal a march on us, and then " and she turned,
as she had a way of doing when almost out of a
room, putting her face back again, full of smiles
"then, papa, if you tempt me very much, who

Jd< tUrtilwm'i Will.


knows but I may come and settle down upon you
for ever more !"

There was no "hardly knowing," however,
when she was really gone. The house seemed
empty and echoing, and Judge Havisham was
glad to leave it and get away down town to his
office and his work.

Bent watched him quietly when he came back
and as one day and another passed.

"It's no use!" he said. "Whatever thorn
Miss Vivian put in his pillow is worrying him
again. If he pushed it away for a while, it is
back again, sharper than ever, if my old eyes
don't mistake."

Whether they did or not, they were the only
ones that suspected any unpleasant weight upon
Judge Havisham' s mind. He was abstracted and
preoccupied at times, it was true, but no one
could be otherwise with the amount of work he
was carrying at the office, and of late not unfre-
quently bringing home. This "bringing home "
Wynt noticed instantly as something entirely
new, and too much, he felt sure. His uncle had
always depended upon free life and rest when he
came into the house.

"Is this going to last very long?" he asked
quietly one evening, as his uncle came into the
library with a package of papers in his hand.

" Is what going to last?" and the judge looked
quickly at Wynt, whose dark eyelashes had hardly


lifted while asking the question, as he sat over
his own book.

Wynt made a little gesture towards the papers.
"You always teach me that when a day's work
is done it should be done, and a man should be
making himself over for the next."

Judge Havisham laughed. "I do seem to be
going against my own doctrine; but it's good
teaching, for all that. I am overworking a little
just now, perhaps, but I don't see any way out.
It wont last long though, and I 'm pretty tough,
you know. And I keep out of the study, don't
you see? I do it, as well as I can, out here, where
you young rattlebrains are. That keeps me

Wynt had noticed it, and that he and Cyp were
always called for, since Vivian left, if out of the
way when his uncle came in. Cyp revelled in the
fact, and the evening work he thought best of

"I'm not hurried off up stairs after dinner
then," he confided to Mab as he stopped under
her window one day. " I 'hang around ' awfully
late, don't you know, and uncle stops every now
and then for a rest, and we have such times!
They 're droll, no end."

As for the " not lasting long," however, there
seemed some mistake about that, and the impres-
sion went over the house, and even out to the cot-
tages, that "Mr. Thorpe " was carrying too much.


It was plain enough how it happened, though;
any one could see that. One of the prominent
lawyers in town had retired, and there were two
large estates to be settled by the Havisham firm,
and Mr. Wilkie was ill.

" They say that most of Mr. Wilkie' s practice
comes over to him," Bent said one evening to
Barbie and Mab. "And they say Mr. Wilkie
wont be out for a month; and how it's all to be
doubled with Mr. Thorpe's share passes me to
see. We all know there's not a lawyer in the
county with the clients that come to him."

Barbie, erect and turbaned, fixed her great
brilliant eyes upon Bent "Then he ought to
say no," she said suddenly. "We don't want a
bent bow breaking in the old house. I have seen
that once, and enough."

Bent did not answer. He had seen it with
her, and "enough" also, when the judge's father
had broken down in middle life from trying to
carry his own affairs and a scapegrace brother's
at the same time. That was one of the bitterest
times the old house had ever seen.

"I don't get sight of the young gentlemen
once, these days, to half a dozen times in the
past," Barbie said, with a quick change of the
subject in hand.

"No; Mr. Thorpe keeps them with him every
moment when he's in the house, since Miss Viv-
ian left; and he's not had a horse out without



one or both of them any more. If there 's one
thing on earth he takes pleasure in, it 's the hav-
ing them about. ' '

Meanwhile Wynt had found his thoughts
turning so often to Lee Brainerd and his mood of
the other day that, in spite of the many distrac-
tions at home, he had looked into the store more
than once in business hours, hoping to satisfy
himself that " Lee was all right."

"He never could have meant all that non-
sense, of course," he repeated to himself. "Lee's
got too much man in him to flunk at a little
'grind,' as he calls it He's just where he
doesn't like to be just now, it's true, but half
the fellows in college, where he does want to
be, could say the same thing, I suppose."

The first visit did not give him much satisfac-
tion. Lee was busy for part of the time, and for
the remainder, though cordial and friendly, said
what little he did say in a half-sneering, sarcastic
way not at all his own.

"If you wont talk, I wish you were busier,"
Wynt laughed at last; u for I came in to see what
you really do here. I want to see if it 's so very

Lee started and faced about "Look here!"
he said, with a little sidewise movement of his
head towards a distant part of the room, "do you
see that fellow over there? That 's Warnock, our
managing clerk, and what I have to do is prin-


cipally to submit to him. How would you like
to be under a man like that?"

" Could tell you better if I had the pleasure of
knowing him," replied Wynt, determined not to
be put down.

" It 's a loss ! Now what do you think of this ?
I took hold of a country customer to-day and did
my best on him for an hour; got him just worked
up to where he was ready for a big bill of goods,
just going to say the word, when in slipped War-
nock, bowing and smiling, slid me off to one side,
picked up the customer where he was, sold him
the bill I had worked up, and quietly sent his
own check into the office with it. That puts it
to his credit as salesman, you know, and leaves
me with only one or two odd pieces of work to
show for the day."

"That was pretty bad. Can't you get even
with him again?"

Lee gave a sarcastic little laugh. "It's the
uneven part of the thing that goes so hard. How-
ever, I can get beyond them all if I can't get up
with them. They do n't want any poor salesmen
in here or any that they hear tales of from out-
side. Do you understand ? I can take things by
the lazy handle through the day and find more
ways of making up for it in the evening than they

"Lee," exclaimed Wynt, "what are you
talking about? You do n't mean you would "


"Yes, that's exactly what I mean. It's not
so very bad when you come to try it I had a
gay time last night with a set of fellows that you
would never know. I've got a horrid headache
for it this morning, it is true. ' '

Wynt fixed his eyes on him with a bewildered
look. Lee must be "talking to hear himself
talk." He knew him through and through, he
thought. ' ' Now what is the use of all this non-
sense, Lee? I '11 come in again when you 're 'at
yourself.' Or get half an hour off and come
along for a walk. That will take your headache

Lee smiled and quietly took out a cigarette.
"Will you smoke?" he asked.

1 ' No, and I wont believe you will either. What
do you mean by all this humbuggery, Lee?"

"I mean exactly what I say. I detest the
store, and I '11 get out of it if I can. If I can't, I
don't care what I do; that's all."

"Lee Brainerd! You don't seem to remem-
ber that I know you pretty well. You have just
as high notions of the stuff a man is made of as I

Lee smiled. " You do n't think having a gay
time makes a man of a fellow?"

"No, I don't; nor you either; not the kind of
gay time you are talking about."

"Well, now, I tell you there are lots of fellows
that do. Perhaps they 're right and we 're wrong.


I can't quite see it myself yet, it's true; I suppose
I'm not going to make a man, that's all. I've
been slowly making up my mind to it for the last
six months. I couldn't make one if I tried in
this old mill, you see."

"What's the reason you can't? Don't you
know half the tall men in the world have worked
their way to it through what they didn't like?
That's what made the bone and sinew of them.
How many of the fellows tied to the books you 're
sighing for like digging over them, do you sup-
pose? How do you suppose the Lord 'liked'
helping in the carpenter's shop or having crowds
of poor beggars wanting something all the

1 'Oh, come!" exclaimed Lee; u if you get to
talking about that!"

4 ' Why should n' 1 1 talk about it ? I would n' t
if you did n't seem to forget it What do you
suppose he did those things twenty or thirty years
for, if it wasn't to show us how to be a prince
and a man among men ? If he ' d said he * could n' t
stand it' and left it, do you think we'd be wor-
shipping him much to-day ? Now do n't say I 'm
preaching, for it 's no such thing. I have n't any
too much courage of my own, and if you ever see
it giving out, just try to give me a lift; that 's all.
Tell me to 'hold on tighter the harder things
pull.' There's a customer after you. I'll leave
you to 'do yourself proud. ' "


Wynt stopped under Mab's window as he
passed it on his way into the grounds from the
rear. It was Mab's way of "receiving," and it
was hard to pass those brown eyes of hers without
a word. Her days were pretty long at the best,
as every one knew.

"Are you where you like to be, Mab?" he
asked with a sudden impulse, still thinking of
Lee. Here was something, now, that might be
called "shut up."

Mab colored up for an instant, and then her
eyes shone. "Where I like to be, Mr. Wynt?
Yes, of all places in the world! I wouldn't
move out of it to be as free as a bird."

Wynt's eyes were dropped to a little pebble he
was kicking. He could n't get over having blun-
dered so to Mab.

But Mab went on, with a pretty little half-
laugh that just showed her pearly teeth. " Mind,
I don't say I wouldn't be moved out of it, Mr.
Wynt," she said. " If it should come my Lord's
time my heart would spring out for joy. But so
long as he keeps me here there's some blessed
thing he's working out by it that I wouldn't
miss for my life."

"Then if you should 'be moved,' you'd be
sure it was all right?"

" Yes, sure, if I 'd bided my time."




WYNT mounted the piazza steps and passed
through a side door opening into a little hallway
near the foot of the stairs. He would have been
over them with a bound, but he suddenly found
some one confronting him in the way. With the
change from the summer glitter outside to the
cool darkened hall, for an instant he could hardly
see, and it seemed almost as if some statue had
been moved out of place, so silent and motionless
the figure stood.

"Bent!" he exclaimed; "were you looking
for me?" And then, feeling sure he was not,
that he was only waiting for him to pass, he
turned towards the stairs.

But Bent started and stretched a hand across
them. "Not yet, not quite yet, Mr. Wynt, if
you please," he said; and at that instant a con-
fused sound came to Wynt's ear, a heavy muffled
trampling of feet overhead.

Where was it? In his uncle's room? It
certainly was. He felt his pulse stop, with one
horrible feeling of standing still for ever, and then
leap forward again, and he made a movement to
pass Bent


u I beg you wont; not quite yet, Mr. Wynt !"
pleaded Bent. "Dr. McPherson is there, and
he'll have everything right. The rest will be
down presently, and then "

But in an instant Wynt had dashed his hand
away and sprung past. "Remember, I'm his
oldest son now, Bent," he said, and he was gone.

Bent wrung his hands helplessly. "It's not
a thing for young eyes to see," he said; " not for
young eyes. A bent bow broken, as Bab would
say. Old ones like mine are used to trouble,
used to it, I say." And Bent wandered about
the hall as if distracted.

Would they never come down, all those men
who had carried Mr. Thorpe up ? There might
be an excuse then to go and see what was left
for him to do. Mr. Cyp might be coming in,
though. He must be on the lookout for him.
He must n't slip by !

And then he paced the other way and began
saying what an old blockhead he had been. Mr.
Wynt must go up sooner or later. What differ-
ence did it make? Of course he must go up.
He was quite right. And Mr. Thorpe might
have been wanting him, though he could not
speak to say it. Who was going to know what
he did want after this ?

Meantime Wynt had reached the upper hall
and was standing in his uncle's room. In the
hall he met two or three men, he could not tell




how many. He only knew that some of them he
did not recognize, and that he did see Jem Dent,
and that they all crowded against the baluster
and stood respectfully waiting for him to pass.
He felt that they tried not to look curiously at
him, but that they did so after all.

All this was only an instant's impression,
something that he saw without seeing it, and he
stepped quickly inside the room. Who had a
right there if he had not? Why had they not
sent for him before ?

He met his uncle's eyes instantly, clear as he
had seen them two hours before, and brightening
with a quick look of welcome as Wynt came in.
Then the judge held out his hand.

Wynt took it quickly. He knew he wanted
him there ! But why did he not speak ? Why
did not Dr, McPherson speak ?

"What is it ?" he exclaimed. " Has any one
hurt you, uncle ? Are you hurt?"

He felt his hand pressed more tightly, but still
no reply.

" I do not think he can speak to you, Wynt,"
said the doctor gently. "He was not able to
walk home, and the power of speech seems
affected also, more or less. We cannot tell
exactly about it yet. We must wait for to-mor-
row and hope to find him more like himself."

Wynt flashed a look into the doctor's eyes.
He knew it all now. The doctor need not tell


him. He knew even the very word the very
name paralysis! And they would never find him
" more like himself." What was the use of pre-
tending that they would ?

He covered his uncle's hand with both of his
and kissed it with a quick, passionate movement.
Then he looked for the other one where it lay at
his side and lifted that

How strange it felt in his touch so unlike
a thing of life! And the heavy arm seemed
holding it back like a weight. That handsome
hand that Wynt had been so proud of, a hand
that had always expressed so much; and now
what a strange, passive outline it had !

Thank heaven, it was the right hand that
was free. If the doctor should by any possibility
be right, if part of this horrible thing should
disappear, he would have that at least.

These thoughts passed in a flash, and what
was his uncle trying to signal to him ?

The doctor knew. He was turning towards
the table. He had lived these things through so
many times. ' ' Have you pencil and paper here ?' '
he said. "He wants to use them; he wants to
say something to you, I think."

Wynt turned instantly to a small desk at the
other side of the room and brought them. The
doctor drew a memorandum book from his
pocket, laid the paper upon it, and held them
quietly under Judge Havisham's hand.


Wynt watched so eagerly. The hold of the
pencil was strong; surely there was something left

The doctor handed him the paper and he read,
"Don't worry, Wynt. We'll get over this."
Wynt handed it to the doctor.

"All right!" he said cheerily. " Now, then,
quiet is the only way to it. You and I must go,
and I am going to send Barbie up for a while till
I get some one in who has a stronger lift than
she." And he got Wynt out at the door. Bar-
bie stood like a statue a little way from it. He
made her a signal and she went noiselessly in.

"Now, doctor," Wynt said, turning at the
foot of the stairs, " tell me the truth."

"I'd tell it to you if I knew it, Wynt. We
can't say positively about these things always,
you know. But I '11 tell you this. Your uncle
believes what he said to you. That is plain in
his face. He remembers that two hours ago he
had never felt better in his life, or thought so, at
least, though actually he must have been over-
done. He has been working very hard, and
By the way, has anything been troubling him of
late, anything especially pressing on him, so far
as you know?"

Wynt shook his head. Bent turned and walked
away with a little gesture that no one saw.

"Well, we cannot tell. These things have
causes out of sight, many times, and I 'm sorry


to say they 're in the family once or twice here.
Now there are only two medicines to use : quiet
and good hope. I will give orders that when-
ever he asks for you you are to be called ; but
don't stay over five minutes in the room. And
while you 're there let him think you feel as he
does, if you can. Take the ground that all will
come out right Don't say much, but just have
that air, you know. It will be hard for you, my
boy; but it's a hard time altogether for the old
house. I 'm sorry, though, to have you get the
touch of it. You're young to begin." The
doctor hesitated and looked at Wynt as if he
hated to leave him, but in another moment he
was gone.

Wynt stood as if he were turned to stone, the
doctor's words clear as arrows in his mind at one
moment, and at the next repeating themselves
in a confused, dreamy way. " Begin "? Did the
doctor think this was the beginning with him?
And his memory flashed back in an instant to
the first touch of sudden terror, two years and a
half ago.

But now !

It seemed to him he could not breathe. A
weight lay upon him everywhere. Then he lifted
his own hand and looked at it How strange it
seemed that he could move it ! Why could not
his uncle move his ?

Then he raised his eyes and caught sight of


Bent, leaning against a doorway at the end of 1.1.2
hall, his face pitifully white, his hands clasped
and dropped hopelessly before him.

Wynt started and went over to him. How
heavy his feet felt as he lifted them !

"Bent, old fellow!" he said, laying a hand
on his shoulder, t " do n't ! We must take cour-
age. It may not be so bad. See what Mr.
Thorpe wrote for me himself. He can write,
Bent, don't you see? He says he shall get over
it To-morrow, perhaps, it will not seem so bad. ' '

But when he had got away from Bent he
turned and was gone in an instant Anywhere,
somewhere, to be alone !

His uncle's little study that was the best
place. He drew the curtain behind him and
leaned against the wall, as Bent had done. That
easy-chair of his uncle's he could not have sat
down in it !

But what difference did sitting or standing
make? He wondered if the heavy, icy feeling he
had would be anywise different if he really were
turning to stone. Then he found himself repeat-
ing in a dull sort of agony,

"No. It will not be better to-morrow. No.
He will not ' get over ' it. No. It will not be
better. The doctor thinks it will not, really. I
could see that It never does get well, a thing
like that No; to-morrow will be the same. Or


That he could not bear, and he broke out into
a sudden cry. "Oh, I knew I loved him, but I
did not know he was the world itself to me ! It
seems as if there would be nothing left. Every
inch of him, body, soul, and mind, has seemed so
glorious to me. No, he cannot die ! There are
so many people who would never be missed out
of the world."

How long he stood there he never knew. He
wished he need never move. He heard the orioles
out in the elm-tree again. Were they going to
build another nest ? No, that could not be their

Then different things began trooping through
his mind, and at last Mab's words of an hour ago.
Was it only an hour ?

"There's some blessed thing my Lord is
working out by it that I would not miss for my

"Oh, I know it ! I know it ! And I would
not miss it for mine. And I shall always have
Him, best of all, whatever is taken away. I
do n't forget that; I did n't forget it But I can't
think everything at once. I don't know what it
is;" and he passed his hand over his forehead. It
seemed as if what did the doctor say he wanted
him to do?

Suddenly a sound broke through the hush of
the house. It came whirring up from the drive-
way outside, a clear trilling little cry, half whistle

Judte Harltbuo'l Will. 6


and half song, that Cyp had established as his
signal when he came into the grounds.

Wynt started. Cyp was coming. He must
see to him; Cyp must be told. And he would
be looking for both of them. How sure his uncle
had been to drop whatever he was doing and step
out to the piazza, when he heard that sound. He
liked to see Cyp coming in.

Wynt went quickly through the rooms; Cyp
was just at the piazza steps, coming up with the
little swagger that he always got on when his
spirits were particularly high.

"Oh, halloa!" he said. " Where's uncle?
I've had the jolliest old time over at the fall.
The Wilkies took me. I want to tell him about
it, because, don't you remember, he said "

"Come and tell me about it, Cyp," Wynt
said, getting him into the house and over towards
the sofa where his evening nap had scandalized

"Yes, but that isn't the point," persisted
Cyp, with a little air. " Uncle and I had a dis-
agreement, don't you know, about the big boul-
der out there. And we had hammers, Dr. Thad
Wilkie and I, and we know now !"

"Do you? That's good; but you'd better
take up with me, Cyp. I don't think you can
tell uncle to-day. Not before to-morrow, at the

Cyp started, and lifting his face, shot one of


his keen, concentrated looks into Wynt's. He
never hurried with them, and this one was hard
to meet just now. "What is the matter with
him?" he said at last suddenly. "And what is
the matter with you?" as his eyes still measured
and penetrated Wynt's face.

" He is not well," answered Wynt, command-
ing himself as well as he could under such fire.
"We can't tell why he should not be, he was so
well a little while ago. But Dr. McPherson says
he must keep very quiet now. We must not go
to him now unless we are called. So you had
better tell me about the boulder, Cyp. We must
be the best company we can for each other to-

Still Cyp's eyes had not stirred. He put up a
hand suddenly and felt Wynt's face, as he had
done the other day; then dropped the hand, and
next another swift little question was struck at
Wynt and almost threw him off his guard.

" I say, Wynt, will he ever get well?"

Why should Cyp ask him that ? He had only
said his uncle was ill and was to be left alone.
' ' Why, of course, I hope so, Cyp. Why should
he not? People almost always do. It seems
strange for him, because he is always so strong
and gay, but every one is ill sometimes, you
know. We must try not to disturb him; that is
all we can do."

Cyp put a hand on each of Wynt's shoulders,


bringing their eyes still nearer together, and pulled
him with an imperative little touch. " Tell me !"
he said. " You might just as well."

Wynt gave way suddenly. Somehow Cyp

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Online LibraryI. T. HopkinsJudge Havisham's will → online text (page 4 of 16)