When Uncle Hiram’s next visit was made, he saw, before he entered the house, that Charley had kept his word. And when Nellie’s joyous greeting was sounding in his ear he knew then that all was “just as it should be” with Nellie, as well as Ada. And the grateful little wife knew to whom she was indebted for the happy change, and blessed Uncle Hiram for it.
“I know not of
the truth, d’ye see,
I tell the tale as ’twas told to me.”
Mark Brownson was dying, slowly, but surely, so the physician told his wife, and advised that if he had any business to settle, it should not be delayed.
“He is sinking, and even now I see his mind is, at times, a little clouded. However, I suppose there is nothing of importance that he should consider,” said the doctor.
“He has made no will,” said Mrs. Brownson,
“Is that necessary? I did not know—”
“I think it is very necessary, doctor, for his children’s welfare. Not that I think it at all likely there can be any contest about what Mr. Brownson has. Yet to provide against any future troubles, it would be prudent, I think.”
The good doctor assented, but looked much surprised.
And well he might. No one imagined old Mark Brownson had anything to will. But he was a very eccentric man; and the economical style of his establishment was likely one of his notions.
“Are you suffering much pain now, Mark?” asked Mrs. Brownson, a few moments after, when she was seated at her husband’s bedside.
“Yes, yes; give me my composing draught—the opium—anything to relieve me,” answered the suffering man.
His wife obeyed, and after his groaning and restlessness had ceased, she said:
“I want to talk to you, Mark. Can you listen now?”
A nodded assent gave her permission to proceed.
“Do you not think it would be as well for you to express your wishes with regard to the disposition of your stocks and other effects? You may outlive me, Mark, and this thing not be necessary, still I think it better to attend to such business,” said Mrs. Brownson, closely watching the effect her words might have on the sufferer.
She had feared possibly they might shock him severely, but depending much on the favorable influence of the opiate, she had ventured on the business she considered so important.
A look of satisfaction replaced the anxiety of a moment before. She had no longer cause for fear. Calmly Mark Brownson heard her suggestion, and said, in a feeble voice:
“What have I to will?”
“Why, dear, you forget. Your long sickness and the opium—no wonder! There is the stock in the ‘Liverpool Steamship Company,’ and that in the ‘Australian Mining Company.’ Surely you have not forgotten your large amount in our State bonds? And how much you have in ’Fire and Life Insurance stock’ I cannot just remember now. However, by reference to the papers I can tell.”