“Shucks!” said the little doctor crossly. “He liked it. It saved his pride.”
The doctor nodded.
“Mr. O’Neill,” he said, “country folks stare less unkindly at a miser than at some other things. It hurt Adam, knowing his guilt, to see the old Craig home going to rack and ruin. Had a lot of money when his father died. A lot. And he wanted folks to think he still had it. But he didn’t. Went through it, Mr. O’Neill, hitting the high spots. Came home a penniless wreck of a man, body and soul and pocketbook warped beyond recall. I was there when they settled up his estate. As a matter of fact my brother was his lawyer. And what he hadn’t lost in gambling and dissipation he lost speculating in Wall Street. Oh, he never tried the miser stunt with me. He knew that I knew that he hadn’t a cent.”
“Not a cent!” echoed Kenny feebly. “Not a cent!” He cleared his throat. “Not—a cent.”
“Not a cent,” said the doctor cheerfully. “And barely a living from that farm.”
“Dr. Cole,” said Kenny steadily, “he may have lost his own money. Of that I know nothing. But what about his sister’s?”
“Why,” said the doctor at once, “she hadn’t any. Old Craig senior left it all to Adam. She ran away, you know, and went on the stage. He never forgot it. ’Tisn’t much of a story. She was a darned pretty girl, high-spirited and clever, and the old man was a devil like Adam. A scandal of that kind fussed us up pretty much in those days. I remember I went to see Cordelia once in some old-time play. She was wearing those old gowns that Joan, poor child, wears now. Always had a feeling after that that I was a part of the scandal. Mother,” he added dryly, “felt so too.”
The doctor shook his head lugubriously.
“She was a widow when she died,” reminded Kenny.
“The money I mean must have come from her husband and she entrusted it to Adam for Joan and Donald.”
“But my dear fellow,” said the doctor kindly, “he hadn’t any. He was an actor chap. Cordelia came home to the farm to die while Adam was in Europe. She hadn’t a cent.”
“Not a cent!” said Kenny again. “Not a cent!”
“Not a cent,” repeated the mystified doctor.
“Oh, my God!” said Kenny. “And I’ve dug up the farm!”
It was the doctor’s turn to stare.
“You dug up the farm!” he said blankly.
Sick with discouragement Kenny pointed to the will.
“Read it,” he said bitterly. “Particularly the ’remainder, residue and situate’ part.”
The doctor read and he read slowly. Before he reached the clause in question Kenny was on his feet, mopping his forehead. He told of the fairy mill and the chair by the fire.
The doctor poured himself another cup of coffee and looked at Kenny with a shade of asperity. Fairies, it would seem, were a little out of his line.