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"No, Heathcote--no," said the old man; then, bursting with anger, turned purple in "and I don't know that I want. Money's a the face, for he readtrouble and an anxiety—and that's all.”

" THE LATE MR. GASH'S RECIPE FOR A quick step outside; a gentle knock at REMOVING BALD PATCHES ON THE the hall door.

HEAD:-USE CAYENNE PEPPER AND One second after, Mr. Melliship was in COD:LIVER, OIL, WELI, RUBBED IN,

NIGHT AND MORNING." the parlour, in the middle of them all.

He took his stand close to the table: a Old Ready-money boiled with rage, and fine, handsome man of middle age. He gasped for breath. bowed to them all, but without looking at The top of his own head was as bald as anybody. His eyes looked straight before a billiard ball. Trembling violently, he him at the wall.

handed the paper in silence to Mrs. HeathThey bowed in return.

cote. She read it with amazement, and His coat and gloves fitted him perfectly. stared in expectation, first at her uncle, They bore in their cut the indelible mark of then at Mr. Melliship. a West-end tailor's skill.

“Cod-liver oil and cayenne pepper! Good Now, Mr. Melliship was a gentleman, God, man! Years ago—your insult—to me! and moved in the best county circles. With my dead sister lying up-stairs, have They did not, and were afraid of him ac- you come here to insult me over her coffin?” cordingly.

roared Mr. Mortiboy, clutching his cravat Mrs. Heathcote addressed him.

with his lank fingers. "We began to fear something had kept “I beg your pardon-there must be some you, Mr. Melliship-on this melancholy-" mistake here. I am innocent of any inten

” | "Occasion” died away on her voluble tion to insult you.” tongue.

He took the paper from Mrs. HeathThere was something very strange about cote, folded it mechanically, and replaced the fixed gaze of Mortiboy's brother-in- it in his pocket, and stared again at the porlax.

trait. They all stared where he stared, and On the others, the late Mr. Gash's recipe found themselves all looking at the picture had fallen like a bombshell. of Susan Mortiboy, painted when she was a As a matter of course, for a moment there comely young woman.

was a slight titter. Old Ready-money was Mrs. Heathcote—irrepressible-recovered so angry-so bald—and altogether it was so

herself at once, and translated in an audible funny, they forgot where they were. whisper, for the company, the thoughts that A titter, instantly suppressed. were passing in Mr. Melliship's mind.

They looked at Mr. Melliship for an ex"It is a long time since he was here. He planation. is thinking of Susan, or of his sister Emily. And he looked so strange that morning, It is a melancholy occasion”

not one of them dared ask him for it. "I beg your pardon, Mr. Mortiboy," he So they sat mute. began. Then pressed his thumb-nail hard Meanwhile, Mrs. Heathcote and Lucy, against his teeth, and looked at the red with well-meant but successless endeavours, cloth.

tried to soothe the old man. He gulped down some rising in his throat, “He's d-r-u-n-k, I firmly believe," her made an effort to recover his self-possession, uncle hissed in Mrs. Heathcote's ear; and and continued—thrusting his hand into his he cast an angry glance at the man he had coat-pocket

for twenty good years treated as a foe. "I—I'm rather absent, I fear. To tell But there was yet one more outrage on you all the truth, I hardly feel well this propriety for them to bear. morning. I found this to-day. It-it- Francis Melliship advanced-his head up, rather shook me. You will know the writ- his chest thrust forward. ing. I wish it were true.”

Old Ready-money involuntarily shrank He handed a yellow scrap of antique let- from him. ter paper to Mr. Mortiboy.

He was a coward, and afraid. The old man took it. It was his wife's Mr. Melliship took another step in adwriting-a voice from the dead—though that was nothing to him. He opened the note; Hitherto they had looked at his face, for

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the table cover had hidden his legs. Now “I think, Mr. Mortiboy, you do Melliship they looked at them.

an injustice. Before to-day I've heard of "Good heavens! Mr. Melliship. Sir--" his drinking more than is good for him; but cried the chief assistant, who had been about I never believed it. I think he is ill !" to endue the banker with a scarf like the “ John!” exclaimed his wife. others.

" He never meant to insult you or any"Mr. Melliship!” exclaimed the lawyer body else. He is too much the gentleman and the Mayor in a breath, opening their eyes to do it.” to their widest.

The old man was getting purple again. The old man looked. Lucy looked. "John!!”—and Lydia pinched him as

"Merciful goodness!” her mothershrieked; hard as she could. “why, you've got light-ahem !--trousers Various suggestions were made as to the on!”

cause and meaning of this strange conduct The astonishment and confusion you can of Mr. Melliship's. imagine. If you doubt it, try the effect All the while, the solution lay neatly folded yourself.

on the floor.

Lucy's eye caught it. She picked up a Another knock: slightly louder than Mr. crumpled letter in the same handwriting as Melliship's had been.

the recipe for bald spots. Dr. Kerby entered the room-suave, po- She just glanced at the contents-lest, lite. He began to stammer an apology for perchance, she should add fuel to the firebeing a few minutes late; "in fact, he had and handed her uncle a letter in which his been-a-attending Lady--"

wife, Francis Melliship's sister, had tried to "Mr. Mortiboy-Mr. Battiscombe—what heal a family dispute between her husband is the matter?"

and her brother with true woman's tact; and A pause. He looked round, and met hoped and foretold, and prayed too, that Francis Melliship's eyes full.

they might live in brotherly love for the And he read their meaning.

future. “Oh-h-h! we are very old friends, and The old man read it, and frowned over it. very good friends," he said, linking his arm “This is what Mr. Melliship meant to in Mr. Melliship’s; “and, my dear sir, as give you, Uncle Richard, I feel sure. He one of the most amiable and polite men I gave you the other by mistake.” ever met-a man who never refused me a Old Ready-money shook his head slowly request"

and incredulously. "No; my purse is always at the service

“Why did he give me the other, then? of the-poor.

You mean—the cheque-He is not sober, that's why.” for the Hospital I said I would—"

Everybody else believed Lucy's surmise “I must ask you for five minutes of your was true. But this did not explain Mr. valuable time; and, as a great favour, now- Melliship's extraordinary conduct in coming

a at once.”

to a funeral without being dressed for one. They walked out arm in arm in the direc- The whole thing was a riddle, and they tion of Mr. Melliship's house.

were dying to solve it, but could not. As they left the room, the doctor had 'Will he come back ? Are we to wait ?" looked behind him very significantly. they whispered.

Then they forgot everything in the strange Now all this had wasted half an hour or scene they had just witnessed. The old more; and the men standing at the door man all anger—Lucy sorry—the others cu- were frozen. rious.

No stress of weather must shake a mute's “I say he's disgracefully tipsy, at one decorum. So their teeth chattered, and o'clock in the day, and the doctor knew it. their hands and feet were numbed dead. But, Mr. Francis Melliship, I shall be even A decent servant maid came in, and whiswith you”—then, in a lower tone, “some pered something in the ear of Mrs. Heathday-soon.”

cote. She referred her to her uncle. The politic lawyer was inclined to assent. But the chief mourner was deaf, and the True, he did not number among his clients message had to be repeated aloud.

When Francis Melliship.

he heard it, he exclaimed, with much irritaJohn Heathcote spoke out his mind. tion

66

" Hester!

Brandy! Who for? The her will. She possessed a sum of twentymutes? Now, what do mutes want with five thousand pounds, left her by her father. brandy?"

This sum her brother at once took out of “They are starved, sir, with the cold,” the Three per Cent. Consols for her, and resaid the chief assistant, "and I thought you invested it at two per cent. -- grudgingly

. might be pleased to send them a little drop paid — with himself. As her life was for before we start. Very sorry to trouble you, years considered a bad one-physicallybut the maid said you had the key." her brother paid the interest over to her for “Certainly not. They can't require it two very good reasons. First, he thought

, at such a time. They're paid, I suppose." he should not have to pay it very long; se

" Their teeth, sir, they quite chatter; and condly, because she had the absolute power Mr. Mopes he's snivelling with the cold, of disposing of the principal by her will. and can't help himself

, poor man.

I beg

This led him to regard charitable instituyour pardon, sir; but a day like this, mutes tions of all kinds as his natural enemies-will get chilled, and when one's teeth get though, for decency's sake, he subscribed chattering it looks like a snivel, hold your five guineas a-year to the county infirmary, crape how you may.”

and two to the Albert Dispensary. For he "Then tell him not to snivel, from me. felt sure that, if he did not inherit his sister's Hewas before me the otherday-he snivelled money, the charities would get it among then. It's a way he's got, I think. God them. bless my heart !- can't they jump about, and So, twelve years and two months before keep 'emselves warm? I do it.”

our story opens, he availed himself of a fit of The revolutionary boldness of Mr. Morti- indisposition more severe than usual to help boy's proposition so utterly staggered the his sister Susan to make her will. Now, he undertaker, that he stood full thirty seconds had in his library a mischievous octavo vobefore he spoke in reply.

lume called “Every Man his own Lawyer,” “Not well, sir. You see, it isn't usual, sir-published for one Grantham, in the Strand, with the profession. But I'll tell them what and seven other worthies of the trade, in the you say."

year of our Lord 1826. Out of this he took

a form of a testamentary instrument, in which Enter Hester the maid again.

Richard Roe bequeathed to John Doe cer"Dr. Kerby's compliments, sir, and he's tain personal property, under certain condivery sorry, and neither he nor Mr. Melliship tions, set out with all the old-fashioned piety will be able to be present at the funeral. and verbosity common in the wills and tesMr. Melliship's taken ill."

taments of half a century ago. For this The others wondered very much, and went will in the book fitted his sister Susan's inwithout them.

tentions to a T. Mr. Mortiboy had strugMrs. Heathcote and Lucy spent the time gled hard to make her bequeath her prothat they were away in settling the nature of perty to him absolutely, but she would not Mr. Francis Melliship's complaint.

consent; so he gave in with a good grace, But they were a long way out in their made her will himself, and saved three or guesses.

four guineas Lawyer Battiscombe ought to

have pocketed. He read it over to her, CHAPTER THE SECOND.

and she signed it, in the presence of Hester AL FTER the coaches had set the mourners Noble, domestic servant, and George Smith,

down again at Mr. Mortiboy's house, gardener; and Mr. Mortiboy locked it up in the funeral party had still two pieces of his safe till it should be wanted: through business to perform.

having taken effect. And this was it: fairly They had to eat the luncheon provided written out, in old Ready-money's clerkly for them, and to hear the will read.

autograph The question they silently debated was " In the Name of God Amen I Susan whether Susan Mortiboy-who all her life Mortiboy of Derngate in the town of Market had spent half her income in works of Basing in the county of Holm spinster being charity, and the other half on keeping up a of sound and disposing mind memory and house for her brother to live in-had ven- understanding but mindful of my mortality tured to leave any of her money to anything do this second day of December in the year or anybody but Ready-money Mortiboy by of our Lord eighteen hundred and forty-nine

A grunt.

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make and publish this my last Will and “Anybody who can read and write, and
testament in manner and form following that add two and two together, can make a will.
is to say First I desire to be decently and Mr. Ghrimes? I've heard you say so, often
privately buried in the churchyard of the enough."
parish in which I shall happen to die with- “We shall see," said the lawyer, telegraph-
out any funeral pomp and with as little ex- ing privately under the table to Ghrimes, by
pence as may be—"

treading on his only corn.
“Now, that I perfectly agree with," her “You will see, Mr. Battiscombe," replied
brother had said, as he was making a rough the old gentleman, proudly. He loved law,
draft of the will.“ The author? Mr. Gif- and delighted to dabble in high-sounding
ford. Well, Mr. Gifford, you're a very sen- phraseology, of the technical meaning of
sible man.

You're just of my mind in the which he knew nothing at all. matter. No useless pomp and expense.” “I think you might have let me have a

At this point in the proceedings, how- finger in the pie, sir.” ever, the old gentleman's feelings had been As he spoke, the lawyer telegraphed again grossly outraged, for his sister had put him to Ghrimes; but the tender toe was gone to the pain of writing the words that gave this time. Mr. Battiscombe's boot only away four hundred pounds sterling, and made pressed the carpet. certain little specific bequests of personal ef- “The Court always carries out a man's fects. Reluctantly, too, he had added clear and obvious intentions. I've known

“And as to all the rest residue and re- this ever since I could read about a probate mainder of my estate whatsoever and where case.” soever and of what nature kind and quality “Subject to certain rules, more or less soever the same may be and not herein- clearly defined, sir. No doubt, Mr. Mortibefore given and disposed of after payment boy has made no mistake”-signalling to of my just debts legacies funeral expences Ghrimes again. “At least, I'm sure I hope and the expence of proving this my Will I do so.” hereby give and bequeath the same to and "The thing's as plain as a pikestaff. Your unto John Heathcote of Hunslope in the boy—that sweeps your office-might have county of Holm gentleman and to and unto put down my poor dear sister Susan's wishes George Heathcote of Launton Grange in the in black and white as well as you could, same county gentleman nevertheless in trust Mr. Battiscombe.” for and to the use of_"

"Permit me to doubt it, Mr. Mortiboy: And the trust was this.

as I found out, one day last week, that he The trustees were to hold the twenty-five can read, but can't write." thousand pounds for twelve years from the “Then it's a scandal to Market Basing; date of the will, and then pay it, with the in- for there—are—no-less--than four charity terest accruing thereon, to Richard Matthew schools!" Mortiboy, testatrix's brother-if her nephew, “He came from Hunslope." Richard Melliship Mortiboy, should not dur- I asked Battiscombe to take him," said ring that time be heard of, or his death be Mr. Heathcote. “He's my wife's gardener's satisfactorily proved. In the event of his boy." coming back, he was to have the money “We can't be expected to teach all Hunsabsolutely

lope the three Rs, Uncle Richard,” said his The twelve years had gone. Dick had niece, apologetically. not turned up, and it was two months over Certainly not, Lydia. Now, I think I the limit put down in the will.

may read the--subject of discussion. It is The money was Mortiboy's.

very simple, and ver-y clear-hem!—to my So after a little preliminary humming and mind." hawing, he went to the safe, and fetched the Old Mortiboy took up his stand near the will.

window. The rest faced round. Ghrimes "I did not draw that instrument,” said and Battiscombe exchanged signals again. Mr. Battiscombe.

Having cleared his throat several times, the “I made it myself," said Mr. Mortiboy. old gentleman threw himself heart and soul

“The lawyer's best friend is the man that into the business at hand. makes his own will—or, for the matter of He read the will through, from end to that, anybody else's."

end, and nobody made a remark.

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you that if

"There,” said he, looking triumphantly “Miss Susan made us—Mr. Battiscombe at the lawyer. “I think that is clear enough, and me-promise sacredly we would never even for you, Mr. Battiscombe; and I will mention this to—" say, I have always found you a clear-headed “You never deceived me before, that I man. The effect is plain, except for those know of--young man. But no promise ought conf-ahem !-legacies. She left her money to have kept you from coming straight to me. to Dick—though she knew he was dead When did-my sister-make a fool of herwhen she did it: that was like a woman's self, eh ?-eh? Go on!” obstinacy. And Dick has not come within “The week before she died, Miss Susan the twelve years—it's two months over now. called in—" And the money's mine-eh, John Heath- - You and Battiscombe. Go on! What cote? You see it? You're a trustee?' has she done? For God's sake, out with

Mr. Heathcote made a motion with his | it!" hand towards Mr. Battiscombe.

Briefly told, she had done this. Revoked They all looked at the lawyer. He said — her bequest to her nephew, Richard Melli

“So far as regards the effect you intended ship Mortiboy; given the twenty-five thouit to produce, Mr. Mortiboy, the will is sand pounds to her brother; made him sole waste paper, and—"

executor and residuary legatee, and directed “Now, Battiscombe, you're a pleasant him to put a stained window to her memory man, and like your joke, and all that; but I in St. Giles's Church; ratified and confirmed put it to you—is this a time for fun?" the other legacies contained in her will.

“And I answer—no time for fun. Sir, I The executor's face brightened for one will stake my reputation, as your legal ad- moment when Ghrimes got to the important viser, on what I say. The trust takes effect clause of the codicil. from the death of Miss Mortiboy, not from It clouded again when he heard of the the making of her will. I should have told | window he was to pay for out of his money.

you

had honoured me with your This subject of complaint lasted him for instructions.”

the rest of the short afternoon, as they sat The folios of blue paper dropped from gloomily over the port and sherry, and the Mr. Mortiboy's hand. He gasped for breath, remnants of the funeral collation. turned very yellow, and looked faint as a But if he forgot his trouble about the spent stag.

window, it was to recollect his grievance Lydia -quick-witted-recovered herself against his sister for not trusting him, and first : she saw through the matter in a mo- against the lawyer and his confidential clerk ment.

for not telling him what was being done. “Well, uncle,” she said, trying to put the “ She knew I never would have let her best face on the affair, “you'll have the in- have any window or nonsense: that was it," terest for twelve years, and then have the he said, over and over again. money. It won't matter to you much, I The truth was, his sister had loved her dare say.”

church, had loved her work at the schools, She said this quite cheerfully to her uncle. and among the poor, and she did want her

The old man pointed his trembling finger memory to dwell among them. towards Ghrimes, and shook his head.

The managing clerk had risen from his seat. At last-and it seemed a long time in

"Mr. Mortiboy,” he said, “I feel it is time coming—the old man was left alone. I should speak. Perhaps you will think I Now, as we know that Mr. Richard Mathave done wrong. My excuse must be that thew Mortiboy-commonly called ReadyMiss Mortiboy—to whose kindness I owed money Mortiboy-is the principal legatee much all my life—made me do what I did. under this codicil to his sister's will; and as he I-I--There is a codicil to the will you is a very rich man, and gives the title to this have read.”

matter-of-fact story, let us here trace his pediAnd as he said this, he pulled a folded gree, and say a word or two about him. sheet of paper from his pocket.

The Mortiboy pedigree is not a long one. Except the lawyer, everybody was alive There are four generations in it: Old Readywith interest.

money, his father, his grandfather, and his “Go on, Ghrimes," said the old man, great-grandfather. Who his great-great-grandhoarsely. “You never deceived me before.” | father was, nobody knows.

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