“Miss Lamont,” says he, “good-by. Sometimes in the midst of your fashionable career, in your gayety and so forth, pause,” he says, “and give a thought to the broken-hearted pauper who has told you his life tragedy.”
Well, now, you take a green girl, right fresh from novels and music lessons, and spring that on her—what can you expect? Mabel, she cried and took on dreadful.
“Oh, Mr. Blueworthy!” says she, grabbing his hand. “I’m so glad you told me. I’m so glad! Cheer up,” she says. “I respect you more than ever, and my father and I will—”
Just then the colonel comes puffing up the hill. He looked as if he’d heard news.
“My child,” he says in a kind of horrified whisper, “can you realize that we have actually passed the night in the—in the almshouse?”
Mabel held up her hand. “Hush, papa,” she says. “Hush. I know all about it. Come away, quick; I’ve got something very important to say to you.”
And she took her dad’s arm and went off down the hill, mopping her pretty eyes with her handkerchief and smiling back, every once in a while, through her tears, at Asaph.
Now, it happened that there was a selectmen’s meeting that afternoon at four o’clock. I was on hand, and so was Zoeth Tiddit and most of the others. Cap’n Poundberry and Darius Gott were late. Zoeth was as happy as a clam at high water; he’d sold the poorhouse property that very day to a Colonel Lamont, from Harniss, who wanted it for a summer place.
“And I got the price we set on it, too,” says Zoeth. “But that wa’n’t the funniest part of it. Seems’s old man Lamont and his daughter was very much upset because Debby Badger and Ase Blueworthy would be turned out of house and home ’count of the place being sold. The colonel was hot foot for giving ’em a check for five hundred dollars to square things; said his daughter’d made him promise he would. Says I: ’You can give it to Debby, if you want to, but don’t lay a copper on that Blueworthy fraud.’ Then I told him the truth about Ase. He couldn’t hardly believe it, but I finally convinced him, and he made out the check to Debby. I took it down to her myself just after dinner. Ase was there, and his eyes pretty nigh popped out of his head.
“‘Look here,’ I says to him; ’if you’d been worth a continental you might have had some of this. As it is, you’ll be farmed out somewheres—that’s what’ll happen to you.’”
And as Zoeth was telling this, in comes Cap’n Benijah. He was happy, too.
“I cal’late the Lamonts must be buying all the property alongshore,” he says when he heard the news. “I sold that old shack that I took from Blueworthy to that Lamont girl to-day for three hundred and fifty dollars. She wouldn’t say what she wanted of it, neither, and I didn’t care much; I was glad to get rid of it.”
“I can tell you what she wanted of it,” says somebody behind us. We turned round and ’twas Gott; he’d come in. “I just met Squire Foster,” he says, “and the squire tells me that that Lamont girl come into his office with the bill of sale for the property you sold her and made him deed it right over to Ase Blueworthy, as a present from her.”