“It was very kind of Mr. Pettengill,” said Quincy, “and I wish you would thank him for me.”
In the meantime he had glanced at his letters. One bore, printed in the corner, the names, Sawyer, Crowninshield, & Lawrence, Counsellors at Law, Court Street, Boston, Mass. That was from his father. The other was directed in a feminine hand and bore the postmark, Mason’s Corner, Mass. He could not imagine from whom it could be.
“I have had a talk with ’Zekiel,” said Uncle Ike, “and the whole matter is satisfactorily arranged; he is a fair-minded young fellow and he don’t believe you have done anything with the intention of injuring him. What did you pay up to Deacon Mason’s?”
“Five dollars a week,” replied Quincy.
“Well, it will be the same here,” said Uncle Ike. “You can stay as long as you like. ’Zeke wouldn’t charge you anything, but I said no, you have got to look out for your sister, and Mr. Sawyer can afford to pay.”
Quincy broke in, “And I wouldn’t stay unless I did pay. I am able and willing to pay more, if he will take it.”
“Not a cent more,” said Uncle Ike. “He will give you your money’s worth, and then one won’t owe the other anything. When you come down to supper I’ll introduce you, just as if you had never seen each other, and you can both take a fresh start.”
Uncle Ike arose. “By the time you have read your letters supper will be ready, and I want to go in and have a talk with Alice. She is my only niece, Mr. Sawyer, and I think she is the finest girl in Massachusetts, and, as far as I know, there ain’t any better one in the whole world;” and Uncle Ike went out, closing the door behind him.
Quincy resumed his seat by the window. The light had faded considerably, but he could still see to read. Naturally enough he first opened the letter bearing the feminine handwriting. He looked at the signature first of all and read “Lucinda Putnam.” “What can she have to write to me about?” he thought. He read the letter:
Mason’s Corner, January 22, 186—
My dear Mr. Sawyer:—I regret very much that I was absent when you called, but am glad to learn from mother that you had a pleasant visit. Although you are from the city I am sure you would blush if you could hear the nice things mother said about you. I am conceited enough to think that you will find time to call on us again soon, for I wish to consult you regarding an important business matter. I am going to Boston next Monday in relation to this business and if you could make it convenient to call before then it would be greatly appreciated by
Yours very truly,
Quincy reflected. “What is she up to?
Some legal business, I suppose.
Well, I am not practising law now; I shall have to refer her to—”
He took up the other letter and read, “Sawyer,
His father’s letter read as follows: