“Boston!” said Luclarion, catching the last words as she came in, with her pink cape bonnet on, from the Homesworth variety and finding store, and post-office. “You’ll talk them children off to Boston, finally, Mrs. Ripwinkley! Nothing ever tugs so at one end, but there’s something tugging at the other; and there’s never a hint nor a hearing to anybody, that something more doesn’t turn up concerning it. Here’s a letter, Mrs. Ripwinkley!”
Mrs. Ripwinkley took it with some surprise. It was not her sister’s handwriting nor Mr. Ledwith’s, on the cover; and she rarely had a letter from them that was posted in Boston, now. They had been living at a place out of town for several years. Mrs. Ledwith knew better than to give her letters to her husband for posting. They got lost in his big wallet, and stayed there till they grew old.
Who should write to Mrs. Ripwinkley, after all these years, from Boston?
She looked up at Luclarion, and smiled. “It didn’t take a Solomon,” said she, pointing to the postmark.
“No, nor yet a black smooch, with only four letters plain, on an invelup. ’Taint that, it’s the drift of things. Those girls have got Boston in their minds as hard and fast as they’ve got heaven; and I mistrust mightily they’ll get there first somehow!”
The girls were out of hearing, as she said this; they had got their story, and gone back to their red roof and their willow tree.
“Why, Luclarion!” exclaimed Mrs. Ripwinkley, as she drew out and unfolded the letter sheet. “It’s from Uncle Titus Oldways.”
“Then he ain’t dead,” remarked Luclarion, and went away into the kitchen.
“MY DEAR FRANCES,—I am seventy-eight years old. It is time I got acquainted with some of my relations. I’ve had other work to do in the world heretofore (at least I thought I had), and so, I believe, have they. But I have a wish now to get you and your sister to come and live nearer to me, that we may find out whether we really are anything to each other or not. It seems natural, I suppose, that we might be; but kinship doesn’t all run in the veins.
“I do not ask you to do this with reference to any possible intentions of mine that might concern you after my death; my wish is to do what is right by you, in return for your consenting to my pleasure in the matter, while I am alive. It will cost you more to live in Boston than where you do now, and I have no