“How many did she tell you, Mrs. Raynor?”
“She said there were three yards.”
“And you, Mrs. Fisher?”
“And you, Mrs. Florence?”
“Fifteen yards, I think.”
“Oh, no, Mrs. Florence; you are entirely mistaken. You misunderstood me,” said Mrs. Grimes, in extreme perturbation.
“Perhaps so. But that is my present impression,” replied Mrs. Florence.
“That will do,” said Mrs. Comegys. “Mrs. Grimes can now go on with her answer to my inquiry. I will remark, however, that the overplus was just two yards.”
“Then you admit that the lawn overran what you had paid for?”
“Certainly I do. It overran just two yards.”
“Very well. One yard or a dozen, the principle is just the same. I asked you what you meant to do with it, and you replied, ’keep it, of course.’ Do you deny that?”
“No. It is very likely that I did say so, for it was my intention to keep it.”
“Without paying for it?” asked Mrs. Markle.
Mrs. Comegys looked steadily into the face of her interrogator for some moments, a flush upon her cheek, an indignant light in her eye. Then, without replying to the question, she stepped to the wall and rang the parlor bell. In a few moments a servant came in.
“Ask the gentleman in the dining-room if he will be kind enough to step here.” In a little while a step was heard along the passage, and then a young man entered.
“You are a clerk in Mr. Perkins’ store?” said Mrs. Comegys.
“You remember my buying this lawn dress at your store?”
“Very well, ma’am. I should forget a good many incidents before I forgot that.”
“What impressed it upon your memory?”
“This circumstance. I was very much hurried at the time when you bought it, and in measuring it off, made a mistake against myself of two yards. There should have been four dresses in the piece. One had been sold previous to yours. Not long after your dress had been sent home, two ladies came into the store and chose each a dress from the pattern. On measuring the piece, I discovered that it was two yards short, and lost the sale of the dresses in consequence, as the ladies wished them alike. An hour afterward you called to say that I had made a mistake and sent you home two yards more than you had paid for; but that as you liked the pattern very much, you would keep it and buy two yards more for a dress for your little girl.”
“Yes; that is exactly the truth in regard to the dress. I am obliged to you, Mr. S——, for the trouble I have given you. I will not keep you any longer.”
The young man bowed and withdrew.
The ladies immediately gathered around Mrs. Comegys, with a thousand apologies for having for a moment entertained the idea that she had been guilty of wrong, while Mrs. Grimes took refuge in a flood of tears.