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seemed almost as old as he at that moment Why
should they not share a little, after all ?

He caught Cyp in his arms and pressed him
convulsively. " Oh, Cyp ! Cyp ! I do n't know.
How can we know ? But he is too dear and glo-
rious and young to die. And how could we ever
let him go?"




BUT the next day brought very little change,
and the next dragged along in the same slow,
dreary way. Dreary outside of the judge's room,
but inside, in spite of the silence and the helpless
lying still, no one could help feeling that the
judge was only waiting quietly a few days till
this thing should pass off. He had Wynt or Cyp
up every few hours, and always wrote a few
words cheerfully, Cyp watching the process with
eyes turning swiftly between his uncle's hand and
his face as he wrote. What was it all? What
could it all mean? He could see no change any-
where except in that poor left hand, and that
was almost always out of sight

Outside telegrams had been flying and mes-
sages coming in from every direction. The doc-
tor kept away all offers of coming of friends; ha
would rather keep his patient just as he was,
with a strong man nurse and otherwise only
household faces about him. As for Vivian, two
weeks would scarcely bring her, but telegrams
were sent her daily, following her movements as
closely as possible until she should take her
steamer direct for home.


Bent was kept busy warding off inquirers from
the door, or rather opening it noiselessly to meet
them before they could be heard. The Wil-
kies got Cyp off when they could, but he would
not leave Wynt without coaxing and pretext To
Wynt the days were heaviest

"I guess I'm finding out how it seems to
Mab to sit alone and bear things," he said at
last, and he sprang up and, hardly knowing that
he did so, made his way down to her window.

She was there, and saw him long before he
reached it Indeed, something made him feel
she had been watching for him.

" Oh, I know ! I know just how it must
be, Mr. Wynt so long and slow the hours are
moving by. But don't let yourself feel that
you're left to it all atone! You never are, Mr.
Wynt, never. I found that out long ago, and you
do n't know how you can live on it if you once
feel sure. There 's One your heart can talk to all
the time. And He hears so much quicker and
more than any one else. And he says so many
things back. Don't you know it, Mr. Wynt?"

"Yes, Mab, I should have gone wild if I
had n't. But even He used to feel that he wanted
to see a friend about sometimes, you know."

" Indeed He did, and I know it all for you,
Mr. Wynt Do you think it will be long till
Miss Vivian can get across?"

Wynt smiled a little bitterly to himself at this


suggestion of help and comfort, though he an-
swered Mab quietly about the time.

Vivian ! She would come in sweet and charm-
ing and graceful and bring her strange beauty
with her, but He could not define to himself
the feelings that rose in confusion at even the
sound of her name. Had she made his uncle
happy when she was at home last? Would she
want to find him and Cyp there when she came?

At the same moment Dr. McPherson was
talking with Mr. Wilkie, to whom he spoke con-
fidentially, as to no one else, about the judge.
"The only real hope I feel in the case is," he
said, " the quiet expectation of the judge himself.
Strange, too, very, for he knows enough about
such things. He seems to have no other thought
but of being all right again soon ; has not had, at
least, until to-day. I suppose the thought of
some possibility must have entered his mind, for
he had a slightly troubled look at one time and
wrote me that he wished to make a change in his
will. I put him off, for I did n't dare risk it, and
I wanted to see you first If I knew those boys
were provided for, I'd never let him make the
effort for any minor point If they're not, I de-
clare I believe I 'd run the chance. I thought
perhaps you would know, Wilkie."

"They are. They must be, at least, for he
spoke of it to me, positively, not two months ago.
It seemed something very much on his mind.


He even showed me the very place where his
will was to be found; it is lying in his safe to-
day, I do n't doubt."

"Then I think I'll see what to-morrow
brings. If he should seem a little stronger
But I don't know. If he could dictate it would
be a different thing, but this writing business, in
his state; it's too great a strain."

The next morning Dr. McPherson did not
make his visit quite as early as before. An im-
perative call in another direction delayed him,
and an hour later than his previous time of com-
ing he had not appeared.

Wynt was standing at the library window,
half vacantly, half impatiently watching for him.
He had a dreary feeling that the doctor could not
do any good up stairs, and yet he clung to him as
the only hope; and down stairs it was such a
break in the day, such a big, cheery help, to have
him come in. It always seemed, at least, as if
everything was lifted along.

He started as he heard his name spoken be-
hind him. Was that Bent? How strange his
voice sounded !

He turned and looked at him. "What is it,

"Would you please come up stairs, Mr.

What could make Bent look so? "Is he
worse?" he asked, leaving the window hastily.


" Barbie said it seemed as if a sudden worry
seized him, as if he was terrified at something,
and he called for you."

Wynt was out of the door almost before Bent
had ceased speaking, and in another instant was
at the threshold of the sick-room.

His uncle's eyes met him. They had been
fixed on the door with an expression of eager
haste which only intensified as he saw Wynt.

Wynt stepped instantly to him. " What is it,
dear uncle? What can I do for you?" And he
held the writing-tablet to the judge's hand.

He wrote hurriedly, but with an effort that
Wynt had not noticed before. Only a few words,
and then the pencil seemed to hesitate. He
turned his eyes to Wynt appealingly, as if he al-
most thought he might do it for him. Then he
made a renewed effort, there were two or three
more words, and then

Wynt never could remember what came then.
He knew that beside Barbie and the nurse Bent
was suddenly there, and in a moment more the
doctor had come; that the doctor put his ear to
his uncle's heart and said, "Yes," and then
turned to Wynt and grasped his hand tightly.
"My boy, he is gone !" he said.

And then somehow, Wynt never remembered
how, the doctor had got over the stairs with him
and they were in the library together.

He remembered that the doctor had turned


away from him for an instant, as if lie could not
speak. He and Judge Havisham had been close
friends from boyhood. Wynt knew that very

"Wynt, my man," he said, "this is hard for
all of us. The finest fellow this old town ever
saw, by a hundred fold ! But what will you do ?
How are you going to hold up?"

Wynt looked at him. u I?" he repeated me-
chanically. "Oh, I shall have to hold on hold
on the tighter the harder things pull."

But the next moment he caught himself again.
What was he thinking of, bringing Cyp's little
saying up just now ? How was the doctor to un-
derstand ?

"I don't know, doctor," he went on has-
tily. "You wont expect me to know just yet.
I'm glad you think he was fine. You knew
him better than most people. But no one can
ever know him as we did, Cyp and I. Poor little

"Where is he?" asked the doctor.

"I don't know. I must look for him.'*
And then suddenly he gave way. He had been
looking steadily at the doctor, with the quiet
natural to his dark face intensified; but he threw
himself down now, with his head buried in his
arms, upon his uncle's table, with a moan that
went to the doctor's heart.

"See here, Wynt," he said after a moment,


"what are we going to do? I can't leave you
two here alone. Will you come to my house ? or
whom will you let me send to you?"

Wynt raised his head quickly. " Oh, no one.
No one, please. And, you are very kind, but we
could not go away from here. He always wanted
us here, you know. We must stay with him.
That is to say," with a little shudder and then
a thought of Vivian, "as long as we can. Where
we shall go then I don't know; but I must fight
Cyp's way in the world for him somewhere."

"You'll not have that to do, I trust You
will find your uncle has taken care of that, I

"I don't know," answered Wynt wearily.
He could not seem to think of things any more,
just now; and he had never thought of that

But the doctor's words reminded him, he did
not know how, of the bit of paper he held
crumpled in his hand. He had caught it from
under his uncle's, without an instant to read it,
just as that dreadful confusion came, and he did
uot even know he had been holding it all this
time. He looked down at it now, and the doc-
tor's eyes followed his.

"What have you there?" he asked.

" He sent for me, he wanted to speak to me,
just before you came. This is it I did not know
it was here."

He opened it and they read it together.


U I do not wish my last will carried out I
revoke " then came the gap the hesitation had
made, and then, uncertainly written, " promise
to," and that was all.

"Oh, that was what he wanted ! That was
what troubled him!" exclaimed Wynt. "Bent
said he had a frightened look, but I knew he had
nothing to fear. Do you think "

1 ' Yes, Wynt, I do. He had wished strongly
to do something of this kind, I know, but had
thought he would recover. I think he suddenly
became conscious that he should not, and was
terrified lest it was too late."

"Oh, I am so glad, so thankful! It would
have been so dreadful to do anything as he did
not wish."

The doctor looked at him a moment silently.
a But, Wynt, there is no signature to this. And
it specifies nothing. It would not hold in law."

Wynt sprang up excitedly. "But it would
hold in right ! It would hold in honor ! Who
has a right to do what he told me with his last
breath he did not wish done?"

The doctor rose to go. "Very well, Wynt.
Ask Mr. Wilkie about it. He will be able to
advise. Keep it carefully till you see him. That
will be very soon, I don't doubt."

"The boy doesn't know what he is talking
about," he said to himself, as he drove away.
"That 'last will,' as I understand, provides


handsomely for him and Cyp. Knock it away,
and where are they ? I'm sorry the judge got
as far as that, since he got no farther, and sorry
the boy happens to have hold of it. He talks as
if he would make fight for it. There 's not one
in ten thousand that would, after the truth is
known; but I'm not sure about him. He's got
a deal of stuff in his make-up."

Meantime Wynt was pressing the paper in
question passionately against his brown cheek.
"'Keep it carefully^' the doctor said! Oh,
uncle ! uncle I how little any one knows how I
love you 1"



THE next two days went by as such days
always must the same hush in the house, the
same shaded rooms, the same heavy passing of
the hours, the same slow, bitter realizing of what
could not seem true at first.

Cyp's^rst wild little agony of grief had been
pitiful to see; he could scarcely be got away from
Wynt, and clung to him sometimes with an
actual grasp, as if he would never let him go.

"Oh, what can we do? What can we do?
Wynt, what can we do?" was one of his cries
as he followed him across the room the next day.
Wynt could hardly move that he was not close at
his side.

Wynt turned and got his arms round him
again. "I don't know what we can do, Cyp,
except to * hold on,' " he said.

"But what is there left to hold on to? I
didn't think he would leave us. I know he
meant to stick by us. He told me once he did."

"We can hold on to the right, Cyp, and to
the good and the true. We can always find those
to 'stick by.' And we can "

He hesitated a moment, and his thoughts


flashed again to that " climate" which Judge
Havisham had so detested, feeling that his one
half-worshipped sister had faded away under its
power. To Wynt every memory of it was luxu-
rious, with its warmth, its languor, and its flowers,
but, above all, his mother's invalid room, exqui-
site and wonderful as it seemed to him. All the
rest of the life seemed to be shaped outward from
that; and one of the most vivid parts of it was
the teaching, as real as the fruits and flowers,
that it was all with and to and from the most
loved Master, who was never far away.

Cyp was so much younger, but he was given
his share in it, as well as could be, too; yet never
when they were together. These things were
always for some choice moment with her when
no one. else was by. And it was not his uncle's
way to speak of them, and so, beyond hearing
Cyp say his prayers But what if it did seem
strange? Why shouldn't he talk to Cyp about
their Lord, the one only love they had to fasten
to now ?

So he went on quickly. " And we can hold
on to our Elder Brother, Cyp, our own Lord
Christ You know how close he used to hold
sorrowful people when he was here, and it 's just
the same now. We needn't trouble ourselves
about everything we don't see. He knows all
about it, and it's all right'*

Cyp was silent a moment, and then broke out


vehemently, "I shouldn't think we did 'see/
I can't understand anything, and it seems as if
there was nothing left."

" There's a whole life left, Cyp. Did you
* understand ' everything when we got on board
the ship because uncle sent for us to come here ?
We had never seen him and had no idea what we
were coming to, and we thought we were leaving
everything behind. But he knew. He had made
his plans, and all the tossing about we had, that
stormy time at sea, was just bringing us to him
and the happy times he had ready for us."

Cyp was silent again.

u But now," he said at last, drawing himself
together with a convulsive little pull.

" But now we have lost him," finished Wynt
" But we can never lose our Christ. He is the
Shepherd, you know, that never leaves us.
Don't you think it would have hurt uncle if we
had been afraid when he was planning for us ?
We mustn't hurt our Lord."

"But but we loved him so! I say, Wynt,
I say, we loved him so !"

U I know we did. It's bitter, bitter, Cyp.
But we must love our Christ all the more, for
comfort. We must hold on tighter yet Now I
am going into the study to look for some papers
Mr. Wilkie wants me to find. He is well enough
to work again, you know, and there is something
uncle had not finished, and the people can't wait


Come along with me, and then we '11 find Waite
and send the papers off. I 'm afraid Mr. Wilkie
will think I have been slow."

Mr. Wilkie was not thinking of the papers at
all. He was talking with Dr. McPherson again.

"I'm glad those people are coming this
noon," he said. "Lewyn Havisham, the judge's
nephew, you know, and his wife, and two or
three more. I'm most glad of Mrs. Lewyn.
They need some woman about ; needed one
enough when the judge was alive. I hope she '11
stay till Mrs. Adriance gets here. I '11 make her
if I can. That Wynt 's a strange fellow, though.
I tried to get them down here last night it 's all
wrong for them to be there alone, of course but
I couldn't make him budge. Then I tried to
stay there; but he said they had Barbara and
Bent and they were all right, and I really
thought the boy would rather be left as he was.
I stayed as late as I could and came off."

" Did he say anything to you about a paper
he has?"

"A paper? No. What is it? Do you

"Something the judge put his last strength
into to write. A few words about his will."

"His will!" And Mr. Wilkie started with
surprise and interest.

"Yes. He wished some change made, it
seems. As I told you, he had intimated as much

Jadfe lUrlihun-i Will. J


to me the day before. I am almost sorry now
But no. He could not have done it It would
not have answered to let him try."

" But this paper. Was the change specified?
Was there a signature?"

"He 'did not wish his last will carried out,'
if that is specifying a change. But there was no
signature. He did not even succeed in finishing
what he had to say."

"His last will? That must be the one, of
course, that he was talking of to me the other
day, the one providing for the boys. It's not
possible he thought of throwing them over at the

"I should not think so. Not if he was him-
self, certainly. But in those cases the mind is
well, you're very uncertain about it at least
Wynt will keep quiet about it, however, for a day
or two, till till such matters ought to come up;
and I 've told him you would consult with him

"When all is over, of course. I tell you, Me-
Pherson, the town never saw such a funeral as
that will be. Every man, woman, and child,
pretty nearly, will be on those grounds, if they
can't get into the house. There's not a soul that
didn't love him, and precious few that he had not
done some kindness to."

And so it proved. Wynt and Cyp saw noth-
ing, knew nothing of it, except a confused sense


of many people as they went to their carriage;
and as they returned to it they had an instant's
glimpse of a long line stretching away. But the
very grass of the lawn looked trampled the next
day, from the many feet that had stood there,
pressing as close to the house as they could come.

And the next day came what was almost harder
yet: the vague desolate feeling that things must
go on somehow, and the strain of seeming to keep
up, with all the time that feeling that it was
only a seeming, as if they were only acting a

Mrs. L/ewyn carried out Mr. Wilkie's hope,
and quietly established herself, without even ask-
ing a yea or a nay.

"I simply shall not leave those boys till
Vivian comes in at the door," she said in her
straightforward way. "It's not the thing to be
done. I sha' n't worry them. I '11 leave them to
themselves whenever it is best, but they 're not to
be here alone, poor souls."

And even Wynt and Cyp, though they would
have been in great trouble if she had asked how
they would like it, found that they did like it
very much. She was a comfortable, motherly
little body, not so very much older than Vivian;
of course not with her beauty, but pretty for all
that; and she went fluttering about in a way
that made things seem cheerful wherever she
came in.


She got the windows open, books strewed
about, and the flowers on the dining-table again.
She stole Cyp off for drives, and got down Vivi-
an's old easel and went to work upon one bit of
painting after another, which fascinated Cyp and
kept him watching her for hours at a time.

And Wynt found, too, that the corner where
she kept her " dabbling," as she called it, was the
pleasantest one where he could take his book.
He was reading, after a fashion, it is true, but it
was pleasant to watch the colors going in, if only
as he turned the pages, and to lend half an ear to
Mrs. Lewyn's bright little flutter of talk and
Cyp's eager criticisms and comments upon her




BUT that paper, with those last few words
upon it, Wynt found constantly in his mind.
What could the doctor have meant by the hesi-
tation he seemed to show? Certainly the words
were plain enough. Would any one dare go
against them because they were so hurried, with
that last little bit of strength? He would speak
to Mr. Wilkie. That was, of course, the thing to
do; he would have known that without Dr. Mc-
Pherson's help.

Mr. Wilkie did not keep him waiting for the
opportunity long. He brought his buggy and
insisted on Wynt's driving him a little way. He
talked on indifferent subjects for a time, and
Wynt hesitated. Would Mr. Wilkie think he was
pressing the matter forward in undue haste if he
spoke of it now ?

But Mr. Wilkie in another moment had quietly
opened the subject himself. "Wynt," he said,
" McPherson tells me that your uncle's last words
were spoken or written to you. You must
take great satisfaction in that fact And almost
the last words he spoke to me in the office, before I


was ill, were about you, you and Cyp. His heart
seemed very much set upon you and upon your
welfare in the future. Now as to this paper that
the doctor tells me of. Does it refer to any of
his affairs? Is it anything you are willing to
show to me?"

" More than willing. I have been wishing to
show it to you all this time."

" Have you it with you ?"

"No; but I can repeat it to you, word for
word." And he did so.

Mr. Wilkie listened attentively and with a
face from which Wynt could make nothing at all.
" Ah !" he said merely, and drove on for a mo-
ment silently.

"Now, Wynt," he began, turning for an in-
stant to fasten a curtain of the buggy and then
seeming to bring his attention back again, u that
will I suppose to be one of which he spoke to me
not long since. It is in his safe at the office,
where he once showed it me, and where I found
it again on looking for it yesterday. Ordinarily
it should have been opened before this time, but I
feel that, if you do not object, I should like to have
it wait until Mrs. Adriance returns. There seems
no one else, unless Mr. L,ewyn Havisham, to raise
any objection, and I do not think he will."

"I?" asked Wynt in surprise. "Why should I
object ? It is not a thing I have anything to do
with, I suppose." .


Mr. Wilkie was silent a moment. "Well,
probably as a minor you have not But when we
do open the will, what are we going to do ? If
no later one should be found, which I cannot
think possible, this is the ' last will ' to which
your uncle referred. There it is, signed, sealed,
and witnessed, as I do not doubt Now do you
think the Judge of Probate would feel that he
could set this aside in consideration of these few
words, unsigned and incomplete ?' '

u Why not?" asked Wynt, turning towards
Mr. Wilkie with a show of excitement most un-
usual for him. "Those few words were my
uncle's will, that he almost seemed to stay a mo-
ment longer to write. No one shall ever go
against them if I have any power to resist"

If the judge could have stayed another mo-
ment and signed them in time for witnesses! Mr.
Wilkie thought.

"The boy seems to have a good deal of fight
in him," he went on to himself; "but does he
know whose interest he is fighting against ? The
will at the office undoubtedly provides for him
and for Cyp. If it were set aside, no substitute
being made, Vivian, as the only direct heir, in-
herits everything. I '11 do some hard fighting
myself before I '11 allow that or believe the judge
meant it, either. He must have been out of his

"Wynt," he began quietly, "I have my own


reasons for thinking your uncle did not make
himself quite clear. He had told the doctor be-
fore that he wanted to ' make some changes ' with
regard to his will. Probably they were slight
ones; while in his haste, and with his mind cloud-
ing rapidly, he did not express himself exactly as
he would."

"His mind was as clear as mine is at this
moment! If you could have seen his eyes you
would know."

" Very well, Wynt. Probably you are right.
But I think the matter had better rest until Mrs.
Adriance's return."

"Mr. Wilkie," and Wynt was turning to him
now with his own quiet look, "if it can possibly
be arranged, I would rather Mrs. Adriance did
not find me Cyp and me in the house when
she returns."

It was Mr. Wilkie' s turn now to start "What
do you say? What is it about not being in the

" I say I would rather not I do not think it
was agreeable to her to find us there when it was
my uncle's. It is hers now, I suppose."

The answer to this was a slow, long-drawn
"Whew!" from Mr. Wilkie. "You are not
speaking on the spur of the moment, Wynt?
You must be. A mere passing idea; put it out
of your head."

Wynt colored, but answered quietly, "It


would be a pretty slow 'spur,' Mr. Wilkie, that
it took her two last visits to plant. And it has
gone too deep now for 'putting it out.' I don't
know to whom I am responsible now, but I sup-

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Online LibraryI. T. HopkinsJudge Havisham's will → online text (page 5 of 16)