“Ef some of our husband’s doesn’t git fashionable fits when they hear the extravagance Janie’s a teachin’ we’ll be lucky.
“I’ll tell ye naow, Almiry, I’m goin’ ter have a gaown cut by Janie come fall, ef it takes all the egg money ter pay fer it!”
“Why Aunt Sophrony!” was all the astonished Almira could ejaculate. Such splendid courage was quite beyond the meek little woman’s comprehension.
“Miss Wilson’s baby has cut another tooth, that makes five, an’ she’s a doin’ well too,” continued Mrs. Hodgkins, “but that ain’t a flea bite to what I heerd next.
“Ye know the Marvin’s old Uncle Jehiel, him that lived with them five year an’ then went off, nobody knows where, without sayin’ a word to ’em? Well, he’s been heard from! A lawyer has writ ter Jack Marvin’s father sayin’ there’s a will, an’ sech a will I’ll be baound wuz never heerd of before!
“He’s left five hundred dollars ter come ter Jack when he’s twenty-one, ef by that time he’s given any sign of ‘mountin’ ter anything as a scholar, a farmer, a preacher or a storekeeper.
“Did ye ever hear anything like the choice?
“An’ then he says, the old rascal, that ef by that time he hasn’t made something of himself in one or t’other er them things, that the money can be given ter his cousin Dot, whatever she’s done or hasn’t done, bein’s he’s never expected anything of her, she bein’ only a girl.
“That made me bile when I heerd it, fer the old critter ought ter think pretty well er girls and women. They say, as er boy he lived with his aunt who gave him a good edication; a cousin er his’n, a woman by the way, set him up in business, an’ this money he’s made his grand will fer was left him by his wife, so ye’d think he’d feel thankful and kind toward all women, but ye can’t caount on folks.”
“I’d a thought he’d a left the money ter be divided between Jack an’ Dot, ’twould a sounded pleasanter,” said Almira.
“Ef ye ever saw old Jehiel Marvin ye’d never expect anything very pleasant of him,” responded Mrs. Hodgkins.
“But lemme tell ye the greatest!
“Timotheus Simpkins ain’t goin’ ter the deestrict school this year, fer the reason that his father says he’s learned all there is ter learn, an’ there ain’t nothing left that the teacher can tell him, so he’s goin’ ter stay aout and help on the farm an’ spend all his spare time on literatoor!
“That’s what old Mr. Simpkins says, what on airth do ye s’pose he means?”
Aunt Sophrony waited for her niece to solve the mystery, but the problem was too great for her to grasp, and as Mrs. Hodgkins rose to go, Almira begged her to question Timotheus if she chanced to meet him, and find out just what he intended to do with his spare time, and to learn if possible in what way “literatoor” was to form a part of his daily life.