“Every dollar of it,” assented the other.
“It ain’t likely he’s made a will. Who’s goin’ to heir it? He ’ain’t got a relation that I know of. All the folks I ever heard of his havin’, since I can remember, was his step-father an’ his brother Sam, an’ they died twenty odd years ago.”
“Adoniram Judd’s father was Simon Basset’s mother’s cousin.”
“Yes, he was. They both come from Westbrook, where I was born.”
“Now they can pay off the mortgage, and get Henry’s eyes fixed.”
“Adoniram Judd ain’t goin’ to get all that money!”
“I wouldn’t sell ye his chance on ’t for forty thousand dollars.”
During Jerome’s absence at Simon Basset’s, Squire Eben Merritt’s wife came across lots to the Edwardses’ house. A little red shawl over her shoulders stood out triangularly to the gusts of spring wind; a forked end of red ribbon on her bonnet fluttered sharply. Abigail Merritt moved with nervous impetus across the fields, like an erratic thread of separate purpose through an even web. All the red of the spring landscape was in the swift passing of her garments. All that was not in straight parallels of accord with the universal yielding of nature to the simplest law of growth was in her soul. She passed on her own errand, cutting, as it were, a swath of spirit through the soft influence of the spring. Abigail Merritt’s mouth was tightly shut, her eyes were narrow gleams of resolution, there were red spots on her cheeks. She had left Lucina weeping on the bed in her little chamber; she had said nothing to her, nor her husband, but she had resolved upon her own course of action.
“It is time something was done,” said Abigail Merritt, nodding to herself in the glass as she tied on her bonnet, “and I am going to do it.”
When she reached the Edwardses’ house, she stepped briskly up the path, bowing to Mrs. Edwards in the window, and Elmira opened the door before she knocked.
“Good-afternoon; I would like to see your brother a moment,” Abigail announced, abruptly.
“He isn’t at home,” said Elmira; “something has happened at Simon Basset’s—I don’t know what. A boy came after Jerome, and he hurried off. Father’s gone too.” Elmira blushed all over her face and neck as she spoke. “Jerome will be sorry he wasn’t at home,” she added. She had a curious sense of innocent confusion over the situation.
Mrs. Edwards blushed too, like an echo, though she gave her little dark head an impatient toss.
“Then please ask your brother if he will be so kind as to come to the Squire’s after supper to-night,” she returned, in her smart, prettily dictatorial way, and took leave at once, though Elmira urged her politely to come in and rest and wait for her brother’s return.
She gave the message to Jerome when he came home. “What do you suppose she wants of you?” she asked, wonderingly. Jerome shook his head.