“I suppose so,” said Mrs. Ledwith, absently, considering a breadth that had a little hitch in it. “Though what we shall have to-morrow I’m sure I don’t know,” she added, rousing up. “I wish Mr. Ledwith wouldn’t send home the first thing he sees, without any reference.”
“And here’s the milkman’s bill, and a letter,” continued Christina, laying them down on a chair beside her mistress, and then departing.
Great things come into life so easily, when they do come, right alongside of milk-bills and cabbages! And yet one may wait so long sometimes for anything to happen but cabbages!
The letter was in a very broad, thick envelope, and sealed with wax.
Mrs. Ledwith looked at it curiously before she opened it. She did not receive many letters. She had very little time for correspondence. It was addressed to “Mrs. Laura Ledwith.” That was odd and unusual, too.
Mrs. Megilp glanced at her over the tortoise-shell rims of her eye-glasses, but sat very quiet, lest she should delay the opening. She would like to know what could be in that very business-like looking despatch, and Laura would be sure to tell her. It must be something pretty positive, one way or another; it was no common-place negative communication. Laura might have had property left her. Mrs. Megilp always thought of possibilities like that.
When Laura Ledwith had unfolded the large commercial sheet, and glanced down the open lines of square, upright characters, whose purport could be taken in at sight, like print, she turned very red with a sudden excitement. Then all the color dropped away, and there was nothing in her face but blank, pale, intense surprise.
“It is a most wonderful thing!” said she, at last, slowly; and her breath came like a gasp with her words. “My great-uncle, Mr. Oldways.”
She spoke those four words as if from them Mrs. Megilp could understand everything.
Mrs. Megilp thought she did.
“Ah! Gone?” she asked, pathetically.
“Gone! No, indeed!” said Mrs. Ledwith. “He wrote the letter. He wants me to come; me, and all of us,—to Boston, to live; and to get acquainted with him.”
“My dear,” said Mrs. Megilp, with the promptness and benignity of a Christian apostle, “it’s your duty to go.”
“And he offers me a house, and two thousand dollars a year.”
“My dear,” said Mrs. Megilp, “it is emphatically your duty to go.”
All at once something strange came over Laura Ledwith. She crumpled the letter tight in her hands with a clutch of quick excitement, and began to choke with a little sob, and to laugh at the same time.
“Don’t give way!” cried Mrs. Megilp, coming to her and giving her a little shake and a slap. “If you do once you will again, and you’re not hystericky!”
“He’s sent for Frank, too. Frank and I will be together again in dear old Boston! But—we can’t be children and sit on the shed any more; and—it isn’t dear old Boston, either!”