I. T. Hopkins.

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to the very best."

She nodded again, and he felt a touch of her
bright little courage going along with him as he
went. "It is good to speak to somebody, after
all," he said. " I 've had no one but Cyp all the




time; no one that's known what it all is, I inerai.
As for Bent, poor fellow, it seems as if he can't
speak uncle's name. The only time he tried it,
with me, he gave out and cried as if he were no
other than Cyp."

He went over to Barbie's door. It was open
and she was sitting just inside, framed by the
scarlet trumpet-vine that ran over it. Her head
was erect and turbaned as always, but the gay
colored headkerchief was exchanged for one of
spotless white, and that Wynt had never seen
before, until these last two weeks, except when
Communion Sunday came.

" Must always wear white, the nearer we get
to heaven," she had said to Cyp, when he asked
her about it one day; he was the only person who
had ever dared break her stately silence as to
what it meant. And now no one asked whether
it were worn as mourning for "Mr. Thorpe," or
whether his going had made heaven seem nearer
to Barbie and more real than earth.

Her hands were busy with her knitting, and
her needles flashed with a swiftness that had al-
ways seemed miraculous to the boys; but her
great brilliant eyes seemed to have forgotten
them and everything else that was near. They
were looking out into the clear summer light
and did not seem to see even what was there.
They saw Wynt, though, the moment he came in
sight, and Barbie rose instantly and stood.


u y es | s k e exc i a i m ed with a little gesture as
if she would have stretched out both hands to
him, " I was sure the time would come. I have n't
wondered that it didn't come sooner, but I knew
it would come, when you 'd step into Barbie's door
and say she could either comfort or help."

Wynt smiled and sprang up the door-step in
his old way, half wondering at himself as he did
so, and feeling that it somehow came from having
stopped with Mab.

u You can help me, Barbie," he said as he sat
down on the little porch bench. "But don't
stand there on ceremony like that; I sha' n't stay
two minutes if you do; and I want to talk to
you. I 've needed some one to talk to, I believe."

Barbie looked at him, and it seemed as if her
soul would melt in her eyes. Back flew her
thoughts to the day when the house had seemed
desolate because his young mother had gone out
of it a bride; and now here was her boy, left to
carry its name, desolate and alone !

"Some one to talk to? Yes, for even our
Lord needed that It's no way for you to be
living, Mr. Wynt, and it wont last The Lord
knows too well about young hearts like yours.
He says, 'Come ye apart into the wilderness,'
once in a while; but he don't keep 'em there
long; just long enough, Mr. Wynt, to teach some
secret or give some precious gift Then he'll be
leading you out again richer than ever before."


"Richer, Barbie! Do you think I can be
'richer' when my uncle is gone?'* And then his
heart smote him for saying it as soon as the words
were formed. He felt so stripped and desolate
with that great, honored love gone out of his life;
that was why he had said it And yet did he not
at the same time feel that something made him
richer too ?

A strange new strength had come to him, a
feeling of uplifting, that he could not understand.
It seemed to place him where everything was new,
everything changed. Life seemed so different
emptied, in one sense, but also so full of meaning
it had never had before, so linked in with the
other one out of sight; such a short step out of
one into the other; they could not be far apart

And that was not all. How could he say he
knew that the Elder Brother in his pity had come
close to him and made His love and friendship so
strangely real ? And yet it seemed to him that he
knew it

" Yes, I say richer, Mr. Wynt. Not the way
those would reckon that don't know; but He
knows, and you '11 find it out some day. He 's
got his plan about it all, and he don't mistake.
He can fill up cups as well as empty them. And
don't I long to see 'em just poured out on your
head ! It seems all the love I have for the whole
Havisham House has got to come round to you
and Mr. Cyp. How is Mr. Cyp?"


" He 's well. Has n't he been looking in here
to-day ?"

Barbie shook her head. "No, nor yester-

"I must try and shake him up. He sticks
around wherever I am too much the last two
weeks. Mr. Adriance will give him a stir now
though. But, Barbie, I want to talk to you.
Are you willing I should tell you something you
must never tell?"

Barbie fixed her eyes upon him till it seemed
as if they might almost save him the trouble of
telling, and then smiled. u just as much and as
many as you like, Mr. Wynt. Do you think
Havisham secrets can trouble me? I've carried
'em here, full," and she laid her graceful brown
hand across her heart, " too many a year."

"Well, then, Barbie, I don't think the house
is the place any longer for Cyp and me."

Barbie looked at him slowly again and gave a
stately nod. u Sometimes, Mr. Wynt, the Hav-
ishams tell me secrets that have told themselves
to me before."

"Did you think that before, Bab? Then
you'll be on my side. But the reasons? You
cannot know those."

Barbie's eyes were still fixed quietly on his.
"There's too much Havisham blood in your
veins to stay where there's no welcome, Mr.


Wynt started. "Oh, how could you know
that ? I can guess, though. You know us all so
well. I wonder if Bent has found it out too. But
I could do it, Barbie, and I should have to, if it
were right. But it 's not, more than other things
they want me to do. We have read the will to-
day, Barbie, a will that he made I don't know
when. We were to stay there, Cyp and I, and
have something given us besides a big pile, it
seems to me; I don't know whether Vivian could
spare it; and the rest was hers. But he changed
his mind about all that, or some of it. When you
called me, you know, that is what he was trying
to say. He wanted to take it back. But because
he hadn't time to do it 'legally,' Barbie, they are
not going to listen; they say the old way must
* stand.' It's all right for them, of course, Mr.
Wilkie and the rest, but it would never be right
for me. They cannot help it; I understand just
how it is. But when he called me and took his
last little bit of strength to tell me he wanted
things changed, do you think I can go right on,
as far as my part goes?"

"No, Mr. Wynt,'" said Barbie slowly, "I
don't see how you can. But he did not have
time to say what he did want you to do, and he
surely had some good wish. Mr. Wilkie "

" He had time to say what he did not want,"
interrupted Wynt " How can Mr. Wilkie make
wrong right? Perhaps he would have left Viv-


ia:i to decide. Do you think then we should
have stayed in the house? Now listen, Barbie.
If I go out of the house, I go to work. There is
some money that they say they must keep for me
till by-and-by, but I will let by-and-by take care
of itself. If things look different to me when I
am twenty-one, all right. If they don't, I don't
see what any one but myself will have to say
about it. So now, Barbie, this is what I want
Of course I can't earn much, and there's only a
very little belonging to Cyp and me. So we
can't go and live in state anywhere, even if we
wish ; and state would be pretty lonely off among
strangers too. We must go where it will cost
just what we can afford to pay. I have thought
of such a place, just one, where I want to go. Is
my thought another secret that tells itself to

It had not, but it did so in an instant now.
Barbie's cottage was like a bird-box from the out-,
side; but appearances are deceitful sometimes.
It was all dainty, tasteful, and neat as wax; that
even the outside might suggest. But there was
space in it too, and her own room being below, a
really charming one had always stood vacant
above. This, when the two boys arrived, Judge
Havisham had fitted up suitably, and whenever
there was an overflow at the house they were
slipped quietly into it for a few days. A great'
frolic Cyp considered it always, and he counted


the arrivals eagerly, if ever a crowd seemed im-
minent. One more, two more, coming, and they
were off to their "country seat," as Cyp had
named it from the first.

"The room is all ready for you, Mr. Wynt,"
Barbie said.

Wynt laughed. "Oh, Barbie, there's no use
in telling you anything. But that makes me all
right; only, you understand, you are to take us to
board. It will be a heap more trouble than let-
ting us shy up stairs for a night."

The next thing was to see Mr. Wilkie, and
Wynt ran up his stairs quickly. He must have
got back to his office long ago.

Mr. Wilkie could not tell, for a moment,
whether he was glad to see him come or not. u I
hate to have a tussle with the boy," he said to
himself; "but I may as well have it and be

But Wynt did not give him much choice as to
delay. "Can I speak to you a moment about
those things you read to us to-day ?' ' he said. ' ' I
was not to go to college if I chose business in-


"And the money you hold in trust till I am


"Then those things are disposed of. Now as
to staying in the house. If the will stands, it is


to be considered as our home. That does not
seem to me to insist, necessarily, upon our stay-
ing in it. People do not always stay in their
houses, do they? I think Vivian has not"

Mr. Wilkie would have liked to smile, but he
saw it was better not Wynt was too serious.

"Your logic is pretty good, Wynt," he said.
"You'd better come in here with me and study

"I don't see that there is any provision for
that. I shall have to go where I can work things
out for Cyp and myself. Do you object to this?"

"I think I do."

"Then, may I ask, are you yet appointed as
our guardian?"

"No; I have waited till the will should be

"Then I shall go to the Judge of Probate and
ask him to appoint some one else. If my uncle
had changed his will he might have changed
that part of it with the rest."

This time Mr. Wilkie gave way entirely. He
threw himself back in his chair and laughed heart-
ily. "Wynt, my boy," he said, "look out for
yourself. You may get some one worse than I,
by a long shot Better stick to an old friend, and
I'll do all I can for you. But if you go out,
where are you going? What are you going
to do?"

"I'm going to work, and I'm going to the


room my uncle furnished for us in the cottage by
the gate. Barbie will look out for us there."

Mr. Wilkie gave a long slow whistle. "See
here, WynL As nearly as we can guess at it,
your uncle's last wish was to put everything into
Vivian's hands, trusting her to provide for you.
With your view of things, why don't you let her
do it? Why do you want to go to work ?"

1 ( Do you suppose she would do it, when you
take away from the estate all that money you are
going to keep for us?"

Mr. Wilkie could not help smiling again.
"I '11 make a special pleader of you yet, Wynt,"
he said. u But take yourself off now, and give
me a little time to sum up. Don't go to the
Judge of Probate and repudiate me for a day or
so, and I '11 make up my mind. Remember, as I
told you, haste does not look well in these things.
You will not suffer by waiting that length of
time. And some one has got to settle the matter
with Vivian, recollect. You 'd better be think-
ing what you '11 say to her."

When Wynt had gone Mr. Wilkie tried to
give his attention to other matters; but it seemed
difficult, and he pushed his papers away at last
and began to pace the office with rather a quick

"Upon my word," he thought, " the judge has
put me in an awkward sort of place. I don't
know what to do with the boy. If it were a


mere stickling about a question of 'right' that
his conscience seems to have taken up, I should
tell him that the only 'right' for him at present
was to yield to his guardian till he should become
of age.

" But that does n't seem to be the whole of it.
If I keep him there, I'm afraid it will be torture
to a high-spirited fellow like him. Things
wouldn't be very pleasant; they couldn't be.
And if Vivian just turned about and took herself
off nine-tenths of the year, as very likely she
would, what kind of a way would that be for two
boys to live ?

U I declare I don't see why, in the name of
common sense, the boy hasn't got about the right
of it. I'd rather he'd study, but he can't do
that unless he carries out the whole thing. And
he can't go off to college and leave Cyp there.
It 's about as broad as it is long, every way. I
don't wonder the judge wanted to alter that will.

"There's this about it; it never hurts a boy
to go to work. Perhaps if I let him try it a year
or two things will work themselves round into
better shape. Barbie's is the safest place for the
youngsters, if they go out at all; and if Vivian
does not like the looks of a Havisham living at
the street gate, why, I wont say I should n't enjoy




WYNT went down stairs and stopped before
Brainerd and Gray's, glancing in as well as lie
could through the closed door. Was Lee there ?
he wondered. He wished he could catch him at
liberty a little while. He had seen him but once
during the last two weeks and more, and then
Lee had been so sobered by the shock of what
had happened, and so full of sympathy that he
wished he had courage to express, that Wynt did
not get much idea of how Lee was going on him-

But he could not forget the last day he saw
him in the store. The thought of it had hung
about him and worried him, even through the
bitterness and perplexities of his own days.

"Lee must have got over all that miserable
nonsense by this time," he thought "There's
too much stuff in him." But he could not quite
persuade himself and felt anxious still.

Yes, Lee was in sight, near the farther end of
the store, and seemed to have no customer in
hand. He was apparently putting things in order
after some sales, but it looked more like pushing
and kicking things about to Wynt


Wynt opened the door and went in. Lee did
not see him until he had come quite near. Then
he started, and his face flushed with first a quick
look of welcome and then one of embarrassment
that almost covered the other.

He was so glad to see Wynt ! But what was
he to say to him? It seemed to him no one had
ever had such a terrible grief as Wynt's. He had
stammered out a few words about it when they
met last. Was it time now to speak of it or time
to let it alone ?

If Wynt read the look, however, he ignored
it, and Lee found himself deciding suddenly on
the u letting alone. "

"How are you, old fellow?" Wynt was say-
ing. "I got sight of you through the door, and
I thought it would do me good to look in. Can't
you come off for a walk ?"

"Couldn't do it," said Lee. "That one I
had with you the other day was extra luck. I 'm
the only salesman in for half an hour, and I have
all this plaguey lot of carpets to roll up. There 's
no hurry about them, though;" and Wynt
caught a peculiar look, as Lee gave one of them
a push with his foot; "I don't interest myself
greatly in them this particular time, and there '11
be nobody in. The day has been dead dull all
the way through, and it generally finishes as it
begins. Come, let 's find a seat"

"All right, if you say so. But I'd like just


as well to see the carpets rolled up. Or I believe
I'd like to lend a hand myself. Can't you let
me try? I 'd like to see why it is not ' interest-
ing' work."

Lee's face blazed, but he controlled himself.
" Wynt is n't the fellow to fire your own troubles
at just now," he thought; but he made an invol-
untary little gesture to put Wynt aside. " You
do n't touch them !" he said. u Come ; here 's a

They moved off and chatted a few moments
about indifferent things. Lee's face cleared a
good deal, but Wynt, watching it by glances, did
not feel satisfied.

"There's something gone that used to be
there, and something there that I don't like,
though I can't tell what it is. What's got hold
of the fellow that he can't work over by this

"Now, Lee," he said at last, fixing his eyes
on him with his old quiet look, " tell me what 's
the matter with those carpets over there."

The "something" that Wynt did not like
darkened suddenly in Lee's face; but he turned
it full upon Wynt.

"See here," he said, "I think I mentioned
to you what a pleasant sort of master Warnock
here is to take orders from. Not that you know
what it is to take orders from anybody, but how
do you suppose I like this? It 's been a dull day,


as I told you; not a thing to do, as will happen
once in a while. I could see it troubled him
greatly that I wasn't breaking my back, but he
found enough to keep me out of mischief, making
up errands and all that, till an hour ago. I was
tired by that time, and glad of the chance to look
out of the window five minutes or so. But there
happened to be a mirror pretty near it you see
it over there and I got a view of Warnock that
he thought was behind my back. He slipped
into the carpet section and gave one roll after
another a push with his foot and sent them flying.
Then he stirred them up a little, enough to look
as if a customer had had them while I was out,
and then he called me: 'Brainerd! come and
roll these carpets up;' and he sauntered off with
that horrid smile of his and got his newspaper.
He 's over there pretending to read it yet"

Wynt was on the point of laughing, for the
story had its droll side certainly; but he knew it
would not do. "That was a 'hard grind,' l<ee,"
he said; " but could n't you pay him in his own
coin? Couldn't you smile back again at him
and let the thing laugh off?"

11 No, I couldn't," answered Lee fiercely;
"unless I gave him a smile like his own, with
ugliness enough in it to get me knocked over for
insulting superiors. And you couldn't, either.
You 've got too much soul in you to knuckle to
such things. Still," he added, with a bitter tone


in his laugh, "I don't bother myself about it
much. It can't last a great while, and I make it
up evenings while it goes."

"Lee!" exclaimed Wynt, "what do you
mean ? You 've got off that kind of talk before ;
I 'd like to know what there is in it. I '11 go out
with you to-night, if you '11 tell me where you

Lee laughed again. " You ! You 'd be out
of your little rut with the fellows that amuse

"Then you're out of your little rut with
them. You 're just as much of a man and a gen-
tleman as I am, if you wont pretend to spoil your-
self. We haven't hooked arms together two
years without knowing what each other is made
of; and we shouldn't have done it to begin with
if we hadn't been of the same stuff."

"You're too good-natured, Wynt. But, you
see, we happened to strike apart, unluckily, after
a while. I came in here and you didn't.
That 's where it is."

"Well, why don't you 'hold on tighter,'
then, * the harder things pull ' ? Do you suppose
a fellow doesn't get pulls wherever he is?"

Lee hesitated. Wynt had been getting terri-
ble ones, certainly, and how he was "holding
on"! But a frown gathered in spite of himself.
"You never tried it here," he repeated, with his
face half turned away. { ' I wish you would. ' '


The words struck Wynt with a sudden force.
"I will," he answered quickly; "that is to say,
if lean."

Lee was looking at him squarely enough now.
u Yes," he answered after a moment, in a sar-
castic tone, "I should like an 'if like that in my

" Would you ? I think I '11 try to fight them
out of mine; for there are two of them, now that
I recollect."

11 And what may they happen to be ?" asked
Lee, still with a skeptical tone.

"If I can get in perhaps Brainerd and Gray
don't want me and if my guardian will say

Lee seemed to be struck dumb. " I wish you
would tell me what you mean," he exclaimed at
last " Are you ' off your base ' to-day ?"

' ( I do n' t think so, ' ' laughed WynL ' ' I was
never more serious, at least. I 'm going to work
somewhere for Cyp and myself, and I 'd like to
come along with you. Is there any chance
before too long, do you think ? Is any one likely
to abdicate that might resign to me?"

Lee's eye seemed to run over Wynt from head
to foot. Wynt Havisham ? The same as a son,
every one had supposed, to Judge Havisham and
the Havisham House ! But still, gentlemen's
sons went into business often enough ; perhaps
fellows with fortunes might too.


" There 's the assistant book-keeper," he
began in a confused kind of way. If this was a
joke he couldn't see it, that was all.

"Is that what you're taking my measure
for?" laughed Wynt; but he went on eagerly:
"Book-keeper, did you say? assistant? I could
do that, I'm sure; and I shouldn't need to be
ponied up, as I should on goods. I suppose so,
at least What does he have to do ?"

"Just the drudgery, that's all. He's just
gone off; a year older than you. Bills to make
out, copying, and all that It's not much, and
so Warnock calls him out when he likes and fills
up the time errands and disagreeable odd jobs,
you know. A fine chance, is n't it, for a fellow
with a fortune and servants, like you?"

"If there's any fortune for me," answered
Wynt lightly, "it doesn't trouble me just now.
And it's either fortune or work, you know; so I
take the work. Do you think there 's a chance,
really, for this?"

Lee's face brightened. To get Wynt into the
store with him! A different life it would be.

"Of course there is," he exclaimed eagerly.
" We '11 strike for it in a hurry, and they '11 jump
at you; that is to say, if you're sure," and his
face fell again. Wynt Havisham trapped in the
old mill! No, he'd have nothing to do with it.
Much as he needed Wynt's preaching, he wasn't
mean enough for that


"No, I'm not sure; there's the fact," an-
swered Wynt without waiting for him; "but I
will be as soon as I can see Mr. Wilkie again.
Can you keep the berth open a day or two, do you

" Yes, I can do that well enough. But, Wynt,
I say, old fellow," and Lee gave up and held out
a hand u I say," and he gave Wynt's a grip, "I
should think life was worth having if I got you
in here with me."

"Of course it is. But I 've kept you too long.
If I get you into a scrape with those carpets it
will be black ball for me. So good-by."

As he passed out he met Jem, handsome as
ever, with his large, manly physique, light hair,
and curling yellow beard. But he got the same
feeling that he had in being with Lee. The
frank, bright expression was gone, and there was
a clouded, almost lowering, look that did not
seem like Jem.

"What's the matter with everybody here?"
he thought. " I should n't like to think Lee was
right about the store being too much for a fellow's
ballast, if I 'm to try it myself."

Jem touched his hat as they met; he could
not well help doing that; but he gave him no far-
ther recognition beyond barely raising his eyes.
He dropped them again instantly, however, and
stood silent to let him pass.

Wynt glanced at him curiously, and then stood


still also. " Halloa ! how are you, Jem ? Aren't
you going to speak to me, as good friends as we
were when you worked on the place?" and he
held out his hand.

Jem took it awkwardly; his face brightened,
and a look of sympathy came into it too. No one
spoke to Wynt in these days without that.

" Where do you keep yourself, Sundays and
all ? I never see you on the grounds lately. I
suppose you 're at the cottage often enough even-
ings, though."

Jem darkened instantly. "I'm not at the
cottage evenings nor other times any more," he
said stolidly.

"Not at the cottage? Why, what ^re you
talking about? Mab never steps out of it, cer-

U I don't look for Mab here nor there," he
said. " She's throwed me over, and she can go
where she likes."

"Now, Jem Dent, you needn't tell me that.
Do you think I don't know what Mab is as well

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Online LibraryI. T. HopkinsJudge Havisham's will → online text (page 7 of 16)