Aunt Mary dropped the paper with a gasp.
Lucinda looked at her with interest.
“It’s that same arm again,” said Aunt Mary, “just as I thought it was settled for!” Her eyes seemed to fairly crackle with indignation. “Why don’t she put it in a sling an’ have a little patience?”
Lucinda took the telegram and read it.
“’Pears like she can’t,” she commented, in a tone like a buzz saw; “’pears like it’s goin’ to be took off.”
Aunt Mary reached forth her hand for the telegram and after a second reading shook her head in a way that, if her companion had been a globe-trotter, would have brought matadores and Seville to the front in her mind in that instant.
“I declare,” she said, “seems like I had enough on my mind without a cook, too. What’s to be done now? I only know one thing! I ain’t goin’ to pay no thousand dollars this week for no arm that wasn’t worth but three hundred last week. Stands to reason that there ain’t no reason in that. I guess you’d better bring me my desk, Lucinda; I’m goin’ to write to Mr. Stebbins, an’ I’m goin’ to write to Jack, and I’m goin’ to tell ’em both just what I think. I’m goin’ to write Jack that he’d better be lookin’ out, and I’m goin’ to write to Mr. Stebbins that next time he settles things I want him to take a receipt for that arm in full.”
The letters were duly written and Mr. Stebbins, upon the receipt of his, redoubled his efforts, and did succeed in permanently settling with the cook, the arm being eventually saved. Aunt Mary regarded the sum as much higher than necessary, but still pleasantly less than that demanded of her, and so life in general moved quietly on until Easter.
But Easter is always a period of more or less commotion in the time of youth and leads to various hilarious outbreaks. Jack’s Easter took him to town for a “little time,” and the “little time” ended in the station-house at three o’clock on Sunday morning.
Accusation: Producing concussion of the brain on a cab driver.
The news was conveyed to Aunt Mary through private advices from Mr. Stebbins (who had been hastily summoned to the city for purposes of bail); she was very angry indeed, this time—primarily at the indignity done her flesh and blood by arresting it. Then, as she re-read the lawyer’s letter, other reflections crowded to the fore in her mind.
“Funny! Whatever could have made the boy get up and go downtown at three in the morning, anyway?” she said. “Seems kind of queer, don’t you think, Arethusa? Do you suppose he was ill and huntin’ for a drug store?”
Arethusa had been sent for the second day previous because Lucinda’s youngest sister’s youngest child had come down with scarlet fever, and the family wanted Lucinda to enliven the quarantine. Arethusa had sent invitations out for a dinner party, but she had recalled them and hastened to obey the summons. It was an evil hour for her, for she loved her brother and was mightily distressed at the bad news.