“This is Mrs. Parmly, I believe?” the visitor hastened to say.
“Mrs. Job Parmly. Mrs. Parmly’s sister-in-law.”
“I see. Mrs. Parmly, my name is Beverly, Lieutenant Beverly of the United States Aerial Corps, just over from France. I am a good friend of your nephew, Jack, who has entrusted a message to me to deliver to his mother. May I come in for a short time, Mrs. Parmly?”
He was immediately warmly greeted and drawn into the sitting-room where he met Jack’s mother. The two outside could peep under the drawn shade and watch all that went on, Jack quivering with emotion as he looked on the beloved faces of his own people once again.
Beverly knew how eager the boy must be, and hence he lost little time in getting down to the main fact, which was that he wished them not to do anything to arouse curiosity in the neighborhood; but that Jack was near by, and all would be soon explained; also that they must not be troubled thinking he, Jack, had done anything really wrong.
When he had drawn down the shades fully, that being the signal to those outside, Jack could restrain himself no longer. Opening the front door he rushed into the house and quickly had his mother and then his aunt in his arms.
The story was told at length, with the family clustered around Jack and Tom, hanging on every word as though it were the most thrilling thing they had ever heard, which in truth it must be.
Then Tom had to be considered. Lieutenant Beverly volunteered to go over to the Raymond house, which could easily be pointed out to him, and bring back the startled family, so they could greet their boy, whom they, of course, supposed to be at that very moment still overseas, risking his life in his perilous calling.
It seemed to Tom that the delight of once more greeting these loved ones well repaid him for all he had passed through in making that wonderful flight. The story had to be all gone over again, and scores of questions answered.
By degrees the scope of Jack’s plan was grasped by his family, who of course knew about the strange conditions of Joshua Kinkaid’s will, whereby the bulk of his large estate, long before promised to the Parmlys, would go without restrictions to either Randolph Carringford or Jack Parmly, according to which of them, after the death of the testator, appeared before a notary public specified in Bridgeton, and qualified to assume the trust.
So, too, the plan of campaign designed to confound the arch-schemer who had even plotted to keep Jack from ever applying in person, was agreed to.
The presence of the three was to be kept a dead secret. They would not go out of the house by daylight, even for a breath of air. In the morning the old family lawyer, who had also served Mr. Kinkaid in a similar capacity, would be sent for to come hurriedly.
Once he arrived, the stage would be set for carrying out the provisions of the queer will, which Tom considered might hardly have stood the test of a contest in court, though later on the lawyer, Mr. Smedley, who had himself carefully drawn it up, assured him it was really an iron-bound document.