Finally, she decided to write to Cousin Roxy herself. There was always something satisfactory in making her the court of appeal, on any point of doubt; even though her decision might not be a favorable one, you always felt sure you were getting it straight without any affectionate bias.
Accordingly, a confidential appeal went speeding east, and back came the reply, by return mail, as Kit had known it would.
“I had been thinking
about you when your letter came, so I
suppose our mental wireless calls must have crossed.
“There’s no doubt at all but what your mother needs you badly right here, especially with Jean leaving right after Christmas. What Billie told you was about the truth. Out of the wreck of matter and crush of worlds that happened at Shady Cove, when your father’s business and health failed, they did manage to save enough to give them a little income. Then, as you know, it was mostly your mother’s money that was paid down on Greenacres in a lump, so that stopped her share coming in.
“The fire didn’t
help matters along one bit, but the Judge took
a first mortgage on the property, and the money went into the
“I don’t see why you aren’t old enough to know these things, ’cause land knows the time is coming soon enough when you will have to put your shoulder to the wheel, like Jean, and help. It seems too bad that some folks I could mention can’t see their duty when it’s right under their nose. Just as soon as the Lord sees fit to call him home, Cassius Cato Peabody will have to leave some of his money to his nephew, your father, Jerry. Of course, he may take it into his head to endow some sacred seat of learning on the banks of the Nile, where they can study all the stars and cats and cows they want to. For my part, I think if he’d look a little way beyond his nose this minute, and see his duty to the living, he’d be a good deal happier in the long run.
“Be careful how you open up the ashes of old Amenotaph. I don’t see how he can keep the pesky things around. Makes me think of Eliza Ann Gifford, after the Deacon died. She had his ashes in a little bronze, brown box on the front room mantel, and fresh flowers on ’em every day of her life. Used to give one a fearful turn every time they called on her. So far as I’m concerned, I’m perfectly willing to wait for Gabriel’s last trump to let my dust and ashes rest in a decent grave.
“If I were you, Kit,
I’d have a heart-to-heart talk with the
Dean himself, and I know your mother will be just as relieved as
can be to hear you’re homeward bound.”
HOGS AND HORACE
Kit was delighted over the whole spirit of the letter, and went directly to the Dean with its message. He was deeply engrossed in getting up his first notes and commentaries on the urn and statue. It had not seemed for the past two or three weeks as if he resided any longer in Delphi at all. Kit told Miss Daphne she was positive he was wandering through Egypt all the time, the Egypt of five thousand years ago. And it was only the shadow of his self that seemed to sit closeted for hours in the study.