“No. I wanted to know. It was I that wanted to begin a kind of a Beehive—like Miss Craydocke’s. Would you care if it was turned quite into a Beehive, finally?”
Hazel evidently meant to settle the furthest peradventure, now she had begun.
“Ask your mother to show you the deed. ’To Frances Ripwinkley, her heirs and assigns,’—that’s you and Diana,—’for their use and behoof, forever.’ I’ve no more to do with it.”
“‘Use, and behoof,’” said Hazel, slowly. And then she turned the leaves of the great Worcester that lay upon the study table, and found “Behoof.”
“‘Profit,—gain,—benefit;’ then that’s what you meant; that we should make as much more of it as we could. That’s what I think, Uncle Titus. I’m glad you put ’behoof in.”
“They always put it in, child!”
“Do they? Well, then, they don’t always work it out!” and Hazel laughed.
At that, Mr. Oldways pulled off his spectacles, looked sharp at Hazel with two sharp, brown eyes,—set near together, Hazel noticed for the first time, like Desire’s,—let the keenness turn gradually into a twinkle, suffered the muscles that had held his lips so grim to relax, and laughed too; his peculiar, up-and-down shake of a laugh, in which head and shoulders made the motions, as if he were a bottle, and there were a joke inside of him which was to be well mixed up to be thoroughly enjoyed.
“Go home to your mother, jade-hopper!” he said, when he had done; “and tell her I’m coming round to-night, to tea, amongst your bumble-bees and your lilies!”
WITH ALL ONE’S MIGHT.
Let the grapes be ever so sweet, and hang in plenty ever so low, there is always a fair bunch out of reach.
Mrs. Ledwith longed, now, to go to Europe.
At any rate, she was eager to have her daughters go. But, after just one year, to take what her Uncle Oldways had given her, in return for her settling herself near him, and unsettle herself, and go off to the other side of the world! Besides, what he had given her would not do it. That was the rub, after all. What was two thousand a year, now-a-days? Nothing is anything, now-a-days. And it takes everything to do almost nothing.
The Ledwiths were just as much pinched now as they were before they ever heard from Uncle Oldways. People with unlimited powers of expansion always are pinched; it is good for them; one of the saving laws of nature that keeps things decently together.
Yet, in the pink room of a morning, and in the mellow-tinted drawing-room of an evening, it was getting to be the subject oftenest discussed. It was that to which they directed the combined magnetism of the family will; everything was brought to bear upon it; Bridget’s going away on Monday morning, leaving the clothes in the tubs, the strike-price of coal, and the overcharge of the grocer; Florence’s music, Helena’s hopeless distress over French and German; even Desire’s listlessness and fidgets; most of all Mrs. Megilp’s plans, which were ripening towards this long coveted end. She and Glossy really thought they should go this winter.