He turned to leave the house by the kitchen door, but Mrs. Hawkins interposed.
“You better go out the front way,” said she, and she ran before him and opened the door leading to the front entry, and then the front door. As he passed out, she said, “I wish you success, Mr. Sawyer, and we’ll gin you all our trade.”
“Thank you!” said Quincy. He walked down the path, opened the front gate, and as he closed it raised his hat to Mrs. Hawkins, who stood in the front doorway, her thin, angular face wreathed in smiles.
“Wall,” said she, as she closed the front door and walked back into the kitchen, “what lies some folks tell. Now, that Professor Strout has allus said that Mr. Sawyer was so stuck up that he wouldn’t speak to common folks. Wall, I think he’s a real gentleman. ’Twon’t do for any one to run him down to me after this.”
Here she thought of her money, and, spreading out the three bills in her hand, she opened the kitchen door and screamed at the top of her voice, “Jonas! Jonas!! Jonas!!!” There were no signs of Jonas. “Where is that man? He’s never ’round when he’s wanted.”
“What is it, Marthy?” said a voice behind her. Turning, she saw her husband puffing away at his brierwood pipe.
“I thought you went out to the barn,” said she, “to help Abner hitch up?”
“Wall, I did,” he replied; “but it didn’t take two on us long to do that. I eat so much chicken salad that it laid kinder heavy on my stummick, so I went out in the wood-shed to have a smoke. But where did you git all that money?”
“Mr. Sawyer took the front room for two weeks and paid for it ahead, and do you know he said my chicken salad was jist as good as Mrs. Young and Mrs. Parker makes down to Bosting.”
“I don’t know Mrs. Young nor Mrs. Parker,” said Jonas, “but on makin’ chicken salad I’ll match Mrs. Hawkins agin ’em any day;” and he went out in the wood-shed to finish his smoke.
As Quincy walked down the road towards the Pettengill house his mind was busy with his thoughts.
“To think,” said he to himself, “that while I was listening to those stories, to call them by no worse name, at the dinner table, the woman I love was witnessing the death agony and listening to the last words of a dear friend—the woman who’s going to leave her a fortune. Now that she knows that she’s an heiress, I can speak; she never would have listened to me, knowing that she was poor and I was rich, and I never could have spoken to her with that secret in my mind that Mrs. Putnam told me—that she was going to leave her all her money. I am so glad for Alice’s sake, even if she does not love me. She can have the best medical attendance now, and she will be able to give all her time to her literary work, for which she has a decided genius. Won’t she be delighted when I tell her that Leopold has placed all her stories and wants her to write a book?”
As he reached the front gate he saw Hiram driving up the road and Alice was with him. As Hiram stopped, Quincy stepped forward and took Alice’s hand to assist her in alighting from the buggy.