So Lindy went upstairs to her room, and remained there until after Alice went home.
When Abner Stiles returned from Eastborough, after having seen Lindy Putnam and all her belongings safe on board the Boston train, he stopped at the Putnam house to see if he could be of any further service. Mrs. Pinkham had arrived some time before, and had attended to those duties which she had performed for many years for both the young and old of Mason’s Corner, who had been called to their long home. Mr. Tilton, the undertaker from Montrose, had come over immediately, and had given the necessary professional service which such sad occasions demand. Mrs. Pinkham called to Mr. Tilton, and he came to the door.
“No; there is really nothing you can do, Mr. Stiles, unless you will be so kind as to drive around to Deacon Mason’s, Mr. Pettengill’s, and Mrs. Hawkins’s, and inform them that the funeral will be from the church, at two o’clock Friday afternoon. I will see that you are paid for your services.”
Undertakers are naturally polite and courteous men. They step softly, speak low, and are even-tempered. Their patrons do not worry them with questions, nor antagonize their views of the fitness of things.
When Abner reached his boarding house, after making his numerous calls, it was about five o’clock; as he went upstairs he noticed that the door of Strout’s room was ajar. In response to his knock, the Professor said, “Come in.”
“Wall, how do find things?” said Abner, as he entered the room.
“By lookin’ for ’em,” said the Professor, with a jaunty air.
“Oh, yer know what I mean,” said Abner, throwing himself into a chair and looking inquiringly at Strout. “What was goin’ on this noon ’tween you and that city feller?”
“Well, you see,” continued Strout, “Mr. Sawyer and me have been at swords’ points the las’ two months over some pussonal matters. Well, he kinder wanted to fix up things, but he knew I wouldn’t consent to let up on him ’less he treated me square; so I gets a third interest in the grocery store, the firm name is to be Strout & Maxwell, and I’m to be postmaster; so, you see, I got the best end after all, jest as I meant to from the fust. But, see here, Stiles, Mr. Sawyer and I have agreed to keep our business and our pussonal matters strictly private in the futer, and you mustn’t drop a word of what I’ve told yer to any livin’ soul.”
“I’ve carried a good many of yer secrets ’round with me,” responded Abner, “and never dropped one of ’em, as far as I know.”
“Oh, yer all right, old man,” said the Professor; “but, yer know, for the last two months our game has been to keep talkin’; now it will pay us best to keep our mouths shet.”
“Mine’s shut,” said Abner; “now, what do I git? That job in the grocery store that you promised me?”
“Well, you see,” said Strout, “when I made yer that promise, I expected to own the whole store, but now, yer see, Maxwell will want ter pick one of the men.”