Again she watched her husband’s face. It only expressed a rather puzzled brain, as though he was trying to remember.
“You have such papers? I cannot think,” he said.
“Don’t try to, dear. It is not necessary. I will just look over your papers, and make a statement; and when I read them over to you in presence of the lawyer, you can assent. You wish an equal division between myself and our daughters, I know. Is it not so?”
“Yes, yes. You are always right,” murmured her husband.
“There, dear, go to sleep now. Some time when you are easy we will fix this,” said Mrs. Brownson.
And the next day, at an hour when she knew her husband’s mind was best prepared, a lawyer was summoned, and a statement of stocks and bonds to the amount of two hundred thousand dollars placed before him, and Mark Brownson expressed his wish to have an equal division of his effects made between his wife and two children.
The will was made, and duly signed and witnessed by two of the nearest neighbors and the only domestic, a worthy woman who had been with Mrs. Brownson for many years.
A few days more, and Mark Brownson had passed from earth.
Many wondered at the very quiet and unostentatious style of the last services for him; but the widow had said:
“In death it shall be with him as he always preferred in life.”
And then when all was over, and the summer months were coming, Mrs. Brownson sold out the modest little establishment, and, with her daughters and their faithful servant, went to board by the seashore, at a very fashionable resort; but, of course, not to mingle in the gay festivities of the season, only to recruit her health, which was very much impared by long attention to her suffering husband, and to have the girls escape the heat and dust of the city.
A few days after they were settled in their new abode, Mrs. Brownson said to her attendant:
“Margaret, you were very much surprised by hearing Mr. Brownson’s will.”
“Oh, yes, ma’am, indeed I was.”
“Well, Margaret, I do not wish you to mention anything about it down here. Mr. Brownson, you know, never let it be known to the world. And so it must be for the present. I do not wish my daughters to be married for anything but their own good qualities. They are good and beautiful enough to marry well, without having any other inducements for suitors. Now, Margaret, you know just how I feel, and what I mean?” said the anxious mother.
“Certainly I do! And I feel as much concerned about my beautiful young ladies as you do, ma’am. Never fear but I will look out for their interest,” answered the worthy woman.
And to do as she said, to the best of her understanding, Margaret set out for a walk on the beach, with some of the other servants and their escorts, the waiters from the hotel. And before the next noon it was well known what a good chance there was for two young men to win as beautiful wives as ever were seen, to say nothing of the other greater attractions.