Before evening Kate was back exactly where she left off, for when Mrs. Bates came downstairs, her nerves quieted by her long sleep, she asked Kate what would be best about each question that arose, while Kate answered as nearly for all of them as her judgment and common sense dictated; but she gave the answer in her own way, and she paved the way by making a short, sharp speech when the first person said in her hearing that “Mother never should have given him the deeds.” Not one of them said that again, while at Kate’s suggestion, mentally and on scraps of paper, every single one of them figured that one third of sixteen hundred and fifty was five hundred and fifty; subtracted from sixteen hundred and fifty this left one thousand one hundred, which, divided by sixteen, gave sixty-eight and three fourths. This result gave Josie the hysterics, strong and capable though she was; made Hiram violently ill, so that he resorted to garden palings for a support; while Agatha used her influence suddenly, and took Adam, Jr., home.
As she came to Kate to say that they were going, Agatha was white as possible, her thin lips compressed, a red spot burning on either cheek.
“Adam and I shall take our departure now, Katherine,” she said, standing very stiffly, her head held higher than Kate ever had thought it could be lifted. Kate put her arm around her sister-in-law and gave her a hearty hug: “Tell Adam I’ll do what I think is fair and just; and use all the influence I have to get the others to do the same,” she said.
“Fruitless!” said Agatha. “Fruitless! Reason and justice have departed from this abode. I shall hasten my pace, and take Adam where my influence is paramount. The state of affairs here is deplorable, perfectly deplorable! I shall not be missed, and I shall leave my male offspring to take the place of his poor, defrauded father.”
Adam, 3d, was now a tall, handsome young man of twenty-two, quite as fond of Kate as ever. He wiped the dishes, and when the evening work was finished, they talked with Mrs. Bates until they knew her every wish. The children had planned for a funeral from the church, because it was large enough to seat the family and friends in comfort; but when they mentioned this to Mrs. Bates, she delivered an ultimatum on the instant: “You’ll do no such thing!” she cried. “Pa never went to that church living; I’ll not sanction his being carried there feet first, when he’s helpless. And we’ll not scandalize the neighbours by fighting over money on Sunday, either. You’ll all come Monday morning, if you want anything to say about this. If you don’t, I’ll put through the business in short order. I’m sick to my soul of the whole thing. I’ll wash my hands of it as quick as possible.”
So the families all went to their homes; Kate helped her mother to bed; and then she and Adam, 3d, tried to plan what would be best for the morrow; afterward they sat down and figured until almost dawn.