Verner's Pride eBook

Ellen Wood (author)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 1,003 pages of information about Verner's Pride.

“Altered to what it was before?” eagerly cried the lawyer.

Mr. Bitterworth nodded again.  “I called in upon him this morning, and in the course of conversation it came out what he had done about Verner’s Pride.  And now he wants it undone.”

“I am glad of it—­I am glad of it, Mr. Bitterworth.  Between ourselves—­though I mean no disrespect to them—­the young Massingbirds were not fit heirs for Verner’s Pride.  Mr. Lionel Verner is.”

“He is the rightful heir as well as the fit one, Matiss,” added Mr. Bitterworth, leaning over the railings of the desk, while the lawyer was hastily putting his papers in order, preparatory to leaving them, placing some aside on the desk, and locking up others.  “What was the cause of his willing it away from Lionel Verner?”

“It’s more than I can tell.  He gave no clue whatever to his motive.  Many and many a time have I thought it over since, but I never came near fathoming it.  I told Mr. Verner that it was not a just thing, when I took his instructions for the fresh will.  That is, I intimated as much; it was not my place, of course, to speak out my mind offensively to Mr. Verner.  Dr. West said a great deal more to him than I did; but he could make no impression.”

“Was Dr. West consulted, then, by Mr. Verner?”

“Not at all.  When I called at Verner’s Pride with the fresh will for Mr. Verner to execute, it happened that Tynn was out.  He and one of the other servants were to have witnessed the signature.  Dr. West came in at the time, and Mr. Verner said he would do for a witness in Tynn’s place.  Dr. West remonstrated most strongly when he found what it was; for Mr. Verner told him in confidence what had been done.  He, the doctor, at first refused to put his hand to anything so unjust.  He protested that the public would cry shame, would say John Massingbird had no human right to Verner’s Pride, would suspect he had obtained it by fraud, or by some sort of underhand work.  Mr. Verner replied that I—­Matiss—­could contradict that.  At last the doctor signed.”

“When was this?”

“It was the very week after John started for Australia.  I wondered why Mr. Verner should have allowed him to go, if he meant to make him his heir.  Dr. West wondered also, and said so to Mr. Verner, but Mr. Verner made no reply.”

“Mr. Verner has just told me that neither the Massingbirds nor Mrs. Verner knew anything of the fresh will.  I understood him to imply that no person whatever was cognisant of it but himself and you.”

“And Dr. West.  Nobody else.”

“And he gave no reason for the alteration—­either to you or to Dr. West?”

“None at all.  Beyond the assertion that Lionel had displeased him.  Dr. West would have pressed him upon the point, but Mr. Verner repulsed him with coldness.  He insisted upon our secrecy as to the new will; which we promised, and I dare say have never violated.  I know I can answer for myself.”

Project Gutenberg
Verner's Pride from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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