“Peace, my friends,” he commanded with authority. “Let no man disturb the peace of the dead.”
And, unwaveringly, he went on to the end of the service.
So little Minnie Munn rests beside the mother who waited for her. No ghosts have risen to protest her presence there. The man who loved her comes back to Our Square from time to time, at which times there are fresh flowers on Minnie’s mound, below the headstone reading: “Beloved Wife of Christopher Hines.” But the elegiac verse has never appeared. I must record also the disappearance of that tiny bronze cockleshell, outward bound for “Far Ports,” from the Bonnie Lassie’s window, though Mr. Hines was wrong in his theory that it could be bought—like all else —“at a price.” By the way, I believe that he has modified that theory.
As for Bartholomew Storrs, he is prone to take the other side of the Square when he sees me on my accustomed bench. In repose his face is as grim as ever, but I have seen him smile at a child. Probably the weight of our collective sins upon his conscience is less irksome, now that he has a crime of his own to balance them. For forgery and falsification of an official record is a real crime, which might send him to jail. But even that grim and judicial God of his worship ought to welcome him into heaven on the strength of it.
I believe that Bartholomew sleeps o’ nights now.
Mayme Mccartney was a bad little good girl. She inspired (I trust) esteem for her goodness. But it was for her hardy and happy impudence, her bent for ingenious mischief, her broad and catholic disrespect for law, conventions, proprieties and persons, and the glint of the devil in her black eyes that we really loved her. Such is the perversity of human nature in Our Square. I am told that it is much the same elsewhere.
She first came into public notice by giving (unsolicited) a most scandalous and spirited imitation of old Madame Tallafferr, aforetime of the Southern aristocracy, in the act of rebuking her landlord, the insecticidal Boggs ("Boggs Kills Bugs” in his patent of nobility), for eating peanuts on his own front steps. She then (earnestly solicited by a growing audience) put on impromptu sketches of the Little Red Doctor diagnosing internal complications in a doodle-bug; of MacLachan (drunk) singing “The Cork Leg” and MacLachan (sober) repenting thereof; of Bartholomew Storrs offering samples of his mortuary poesy to a bereaved second-cousin; and, having decked out her chin in cotton-batten whiskers (limb of Satan!), of myself proffering sage counsel and pious admonitions to Our Square at large. Having concluded, she sat down on a bench and coughed. And the Little Red Doctor, who, from the shelter of a shrub had observed her presentation of his little idiosyncrasies, drew nearer and looked at her hard.