“There was ’bout a spoonful left in the bottom of my tumbler,” said Abner, apologetically. “Them that drinks last drinks best,” said he, as he took up his lamp. “I guess that nightcap won’t hurt me,” he muttered to himself as he stumbled up the flight of stairs that led to his room.
The fire burned brightly and Strout resumed his seat and drew the bottle towards him. He lifted it up and looked at it.
“The skunk!” said he half aloud; “a man that’ll steal rum will hook money next. Wall, it won’t be many days before that city chap will buy his return ticket to Boston. Then I shan’t have any further use for Abner. Let me see,” he soliloquized, “what I’ve got to do to-morrer? Git the Deacon’s money at ten, propose to Huldy ’bout half past, git home to dinner at twelve, buy the grocery store ’bout quarter-past three; that’ll be a pretty good day’s work!”
Then the Professor mixed up a nightcap for himself and was soon sleeping soundly, regardless of the broad smile upon the face of the Man in the Moon, who looked down upon the town with an expression that seemed to indicate that he considered himself the biggest man in it.
At the table next morning the conversation was all about the surprise party. The Cobb twins declared that without exception it was the best party that had ever been given at Mason’s Corner, to their knowledge.
After breakfast Quincy told Ezekiel that he was going over to Eastborough Centre that morning; in fact, he should like the single horse and team for the next three days, as he had considerable business to attend to.
He drove first to the office of the express company; but to his great disappointment he was informed that no package had arrived for him on the morning train. Thinking that possibly some explanation of the failure of the bank to comply with his wishes might have been sent by mail, he went to the post office; there he found a letter from the cashier of his bank, informing him that he had taken the liberty to send him enclosed, instead of the five hundred dollars in bills, his own check certified for that amount, and stated that the local bank would undoubtedly cash the same for him.
As he turned to leave the post office he met Sylvester Chisholm. Quincy greeted the young man pleasantly, and asked him if he were in business at the Centre. Sylvester replied that he was the compositor and local newsman on the “Eastborough Express,” a weekly newspaper issued every Friday. The bank being located in the same building, Quincy drove him over. Sylvester asked Quincy if he would not step in and look at their office. Quincy did so. A man about thirty years of age arose from a chair and stepped forward as they entered, saying, “Hello, Chisholm, I have been waiting nearly half an hour for you.”
“Mr. Appleby, Mr. Sawyer,” said Sylvester, introducing the two men.