She owned the house in which she lived, which was the largest, best finished, and best furnished one in the town of Eastborough. It occupied a commanding position on the top of a hill, and from its upper windows could be obtained a fine view of the surrounding country. The soil at Mason’s Corner was particularly fertile, and this fact had led to the rapid growth of the village, which was three miles from the business centre of Eastborough, and only a mile from the similar part of the adjoining town of Montrose.
Back of the Putnam homestead were the best barns, carriage houses, sheds and other outbuildings to be found in the town, but for years they had been destitute of horses, cattle, and other domestic animals.
Mr. Putnam had disliked dogs because they killed sheep, and Mrs. Putnam detested cats. For years no chanticleer had awakened echoes during the morning hours, and no hens or chickens wandered over the neglected farm. The trees in the large orchard had not been pruned for a long time, and the large vegetable garden was overrun with grass and weeds.
Back of the orchard and the vegetable garden, and to the right and left of the homestead, were about a hundred and sixty acres of arable pasture and wood-land, the whole forming what could be easily made the finest farm in the town.
The farm had been neglected simply because the income from her investments was more than sufficient for the support of the family. The unexpended income had been added to the principal, until Mrs. Putnam’s private fortune now amounted to fully fifty thousand dollars, invested in good securities, together with the house and farm, which were free from mortgage.
When the first streaks of morning reached the room in which Mrs. Putnam lay upon her bed of pain, she seized one of her crutches, and pounded vigorously upon the floor. In a short time Samanthy Green entered the room. She was buttoning up her dress as she came in, and her hair was in a dishevelled condition.
“Why, what on earth’s the matter? You wheeze like our old pump out in the barn. You do look real sick, to be sure.”
“Wall, if you don’t like the looks of me,” said Mrs. Putnam sharply, “don’t look at me.”
“But didn’t you pound?” asked Samanthy. “Don’t you want me to go for the doctor?”
“No,” replied Mrs. Putnam, “I don’t want no doctor. The fust thing that I want you to do is to go and comb that frowzy pate of yourn, and when you git that done I want yer to make me a mustard plaster ’bout as big as that;” and she held up her hands about a foot apart. “Now go, and don’t stand and look at me as though I wuz a circus waggin.”
Samanthy left the room quickly, but she had no sooner closed the door when Mrs. Putnam called out her name in a loud voice, and Samanthy opened the door and looked in.
“Did you call, marm?” she asked.
“Of course I did,” said Mrs. Putnam testily. “I guess ye wouldn’t have come back if yer hadn’t known I did.”