“I said to the corpse as I passed it, ’poor woman. I hope you are as happy as you look.’” sighed Susan. “She had not changed much. That dress she wore was the black satin she got for her daughter’s wedding fourteen years ago. Her Aunt told her then to keep it for her funeral, but Myra laughed and said, ’I may wear it to my funeral, Aunty, but I will have a good time out of it first.’ And I may say she did. Myra Murray was not a woman to attend her own funeral before she died. Many a time afterwards when I saw her enjoying herself out in company I thought to myself, ’You are a handsome woman, Myra Murray, and that dress becomes you, but it will likely be your shroud at last.’ And you see my words have come true, Mrs. Marshall Elliott.”
Susan sighed again heavily. She was enjoying herself hugely. A funeral was really a delightful subject of conversation.
“I always liked to meet Myra,” said Miss Cornelia. “She was always so gay and cheerful—she made you feel better just by her handshake. Myra always made the best of things.”
“That is true,” asserted Susan. “Her sister-in-law told me that when the doctor told her at last that he could do nothing for her and she would never rise from that bed again, Myra said quite cheerfully, ’Well, if that is so, I’m thankful the preserving is all done, and I will not have to face the fall house-cleaning. I always liked house-cleaning in spring,’ she says, ’but I always hated it in the fall. I will get clear of it this year, thank goodness.’ There are people who would call that levity, Mrs. Marshall Elliott, and I think her sister-in-law was a little ashamed of it. She said perhaps her sickness had made Myra a little light-headed. But I said, ’No, Mrs. Murray, do not worry over it. It was just Myra’s way of looking at the bright side.’”
“Her sister Luella was just the opposite,” said Miss Cornelia. “There was no bright side for Luella—there was just black and shades of gray. For years she used always to be declaring she was going to die in a week or so. ’I won’t be here to burden you long,’ she would tell her family with a groan. And if any of them ventured to talk about their little future plans she’d groan also and say, ‘Ah, I won’t be here then.’ When I went to see her I always agreed with her and it made her so mad that she was always quite a lot better for several days afterwards. She has better health now but no more cheerfulness. Myra was so different. She was always doing or saying something to make some one feel good. Perhaps the men they married had something to do with it. Luella’s man was a Tartar, believe me, while Jim Murray was decent, as men go. He looked heart-broken to-day. It isn’t often I feel sorry for a man at his wife’s funeral, but I did feel for Jim Murray.”
“No wonder he looked sad. He will not get a wife like Myra again in a hurry,” said Susan. “Maybe he will not try, since his children are all grown up and Mirabel is able to keep house. But there is no predicting what a widower may or may not do and I, for one, will not try.”