“Oh, yes,” said Mrs. Putnam, “you young fellers never look more than skin deep. Now the way she trifles with that young ’Zekiel Pettengill I think’s shameful. They ust to have a spat every week about something but they allus made it up. But I heard Lindy say that after you come here, ’Zeke he got huffy and Huldy she got independent, and they hain’t spoke to each other nigh on two weeks.”
This was a revelation to Quincy, but he was to hear more about it very soon.
“How long be you goin’ to stay, Mr. Sawyer?”
“I haven’t decided,” said Quincy.
“What’s your business?” persisted Mrs. Putnam.
“I am a lawyer,” replied Quincy.
Mrs. Putnam looked at him inquiringly and said, “Be n’t you rather young for a lawyer? How old be you, anyway?”
Quincy decided to take a good humored part in his cross examination and said without a smile, “I am twenty-three years, two months, sixteen days old.”
“Be you?” exclaimed Mrs. Putnam. “I shouldn’t have said you were a day over nineteen.”
Quincy never felt his youth so keenly before. He determined to change the conversation.
“Did you attend the concert, Mrs. Putnam?”
“No,” said she. “Pa and me don’t go out much; he’s deefer’n a stone post and I’ve had the rheumatiz so bad in my knees for the last five years that I can’t walk without crutches;” and she pointed to a pair that lay on the floor beside her chair.
During this conversation old Mr. Putnam had been eying Quincy very keenly. He blurted out, “He’s a chip of the old block, Heppy; he looks just as Jim did when he fust came to this town. Did yer say yer had an Uncle Jim?”
Quincy shook his head.
Mrs. Putnam turned to her husband and yelled, “Now you shet up, Silas, and don’t bother the young man. Jim Sawyer ain’t nothin’ to be proud of, and I don’t blame the young man for not ownin’ up even if Jim is his uncle.”
Quincy made another attempt to change the conversation. “Your daughter is a very fine singer, Mrs. Putnam.”
“Well, I s’pose so,” said she; “there’s been enough money spent on her to make suthin’ of her. As for me I don’t like this folderol singin’. Why, when she ust to be practisin’ I had to go up in the attic or else stuff cotton in my ears. But my son, Jehoiakim Jones Putnam, he sot everythin’ by Lucinda, and there wasn’t anythin’ she wanted that she couldn’t have. He’s dead now, but he left more’n a hundred thousand dollars, that he made speculatin’.”
“Then your daughter will be quite an heiress one of these days, Mrs. Putnam?”
She answered, “She won’t get none of my money. Jehoiakim left her all of his’n, but before she got it she had to sign a paper, a wafer, I believe they call it, if you’re a lawyer you ought to know what it was, givin’ up all claim on my money. I made my will and the girl who’ll get it needs it and will make good use of it.”