Chapter 7




A WELCOME DISCOVERY

Mr. Spencer entered the house so lately vacated by the old man who had occupied it for forty years.

"The trunk is in your uncle's room," said the lawyer, "or ought to be.
I suppose it has not been moved."

The two entered the chamber. It was a small, poorly furnished apartment, covered with a carpet which, cheap in the first place, was so worn with use that the bare floor showed in spots.

"Your uncle was not very luxurious in his taste," said Mr. Spencer. "There are plenty of day laborers in town who have as good rooms as this."

"I suppose he liked laying up money better than spending it," said
Herbert.

"You are right there. This must be the trunk."

It was a small, black hair trunk, studded with brass nails. Mr. Spencer took a bunch of keys from his pocket and unlocked it. Lifting the cover he exposed to view a collection of woolen clothes-coats, vests, and pants.

"This is your legacy, Herbert," said the lawyer. "I am afraid you won't find it very valuable. What is this?"

He drew out, and held up to view, a blue cloak of ample proportions.

"Will you try it on?" he said, smiling.

Herbert threw it over his shoulders, and looked at himself in a small seven-by-nine looking-glass which was suspended over the washstand. It came down nearly to his feet.

"I should hardly dare to wear this without alteration," he said; "but there is a good deal of good cloth in it. Mother can cut a coat and vest out of it for me."

"Here is a blue coat with brass buttons. I remember your uncle used to wear it to church twenty years ago. Of late years he has not attended, and has had no occasion to wear it. Here is a pair of pantaloons; but they are pretty well worn."

So they went through the list, finding little of value. The last article was a vest.

"It seems heavy," said Herbert.

The lawyer took it from him and examined it.

"There seems to be an inside pocket," he said. "There must be something in it."

The pocket was confined by a button; Mr. Spencer thrust his fingers inside, and drew out something loosely enveloped in brown paper.

"What have we here?" he said, in a tone of curiosity.

The secret was speedily solved. When the paper was opened, it was found to contain five gold eagles, and two dollars in silver coins.

Herbert's eyes glistened with delight as he viewed the treasure.

"Fifty-two dollars!" he exclaimed. "And it is mine."

"Undoubtedly. The will expressly says you are to have the trunk, and all it contains."

"I wonder whether Uncle Herbert remembered this money?"

"We can't tell as to that, but it doesn't affect your title to the money. I congratulate you, Herbert."

"It will do us a great deal of good. Then there are the hundred dollars for mother. Why, we shall be rich."

"Then you are content with your legacy?" asked Mr. Spencer.

"Oh, yes; it was more than I expected, or mother, either."

"Yet it is but a mere drop of your uncle's wealth," said the lawyer, thoughtfully.

"That may be; but he needn't have left us anything."

"I see you look upon it in the best way. You are quite a model heir— very different from most of your relatives—Mrs. Pinkerton, for instance."

"I supposed she expected more than I did."

"She appeared to expect the bulk of the property. I am afraid her husband will have a hard time of it for a week to come," said the lawyer, laughing. He will have to bear the brunt of her disappointment. Well, there seems no more for us to do here. We have found out the value of your legacy, and may lock the trunk again. If you will lend a hand, we will take it across to my house, so that there may be no delay when the stage calls in the morning."

"All right, sir."

James Leech was looking out of the front window, awaiting the return of Mr. Spencer and Herbert with not a little curiosity. At length he spied them.

"Tom!" he exclaimed, "your father and that Carter boy are coming back."

"Why do you call him that Carter boy? Why don't you call him Herbert? "

"I am not on intimate terms with him," said James.

"That is strange, as you both live in the same village."

"You must remember that there is some difference in our social positions," said James, haughtily.

"That is something I never think of," said Tom, candidly. "I am a genuine republican."

"I am not," said James. "I should like to live in England, where they have noblemen."

"Not unless you could be a nobleman yourself, I suppose?"

"No; of course not."

By this time Mr. Spencer and Herbert were bringing the trunk into the front entry.

"I shouldn't think a professional gentleman like your father would like to be seen carrying a trunk across the street," said James.

"Oh, he don't care for that; nor should I," said Tom.

Herbert entered the room.

"Well, Herbert, what luck?" asked Tom.

"Better than I expected," said Herbert, gayly. "What do you say to that?" and he displayed the gold and silver.

"How much is it?" asked James, his vanity melting under the influence of curiosity.

"Fifty-two dollars."

"Capital!" said Tom.

"It isn't much," said James, in a tone of depreciation.

"I'll bet Herbert is richer than you, James," said Tom, in a lively manner. "Can you show as much money as that?"

"I shall be a rich man some day," said James, with an air of importance.

"Your father may fail."

"The moon may be made of green cheese," retorted James, loftily. "How about the clothes? Are you going to show them?"

"I think not," said Herbert.

"A parcel of rags, I suppose," said James, with a sneer.

"Not quite so bad as that," responded Herbert, good-naturedly. "Still, I think I shall hardly venture to wear any of them without alteration."

"I wouldn't wear second-hand clothes," remarked James Leech, in his usual amiable tone.

"Perhaps you would if you were poor," said Herbert, quietly.

"But I am not poor."

"Fortunately for you."

"Then you won't show the clothes? I suppose they look as if they were made in the year one."

"For our forefather Adam?" suggested Tom, laughing. "I am inclined to think the old gentleman in question hadn't clothes enough to fill a trunk as large as that."

"Probably not," said Herbert; "he had no uncle, you know, to leave any to him."

"What are you going to do with your money, Carter?" asked James, whose curiosity got the better of his dignity occasionally.

"I haven't made up my mind yet. I think I shall find plenty of uses for it."

"What would you do with it if you had it, James?" asked Tom.

"I can have more if I want to. I have only to ask father."

"Then you're better off than I. Say, father, will you give me fifty- two dollars?"

"When you are twenty-one I may do it."

"You see," said Tom. "But you haven't answered my question. What would you do with the money if you had it?"

"I think I would buy a new rowboat; there's a pond near our house."

"When you get it send for me, and I'll help you row."

"Very well," said James; but he did not answer very positively. In fact, he was by no means sure that his father would comply with his request for money, although it suited him to make this representation to his companions.

Herbert retired early. It had been a fatiguing day for him, and it would be necessary to rise in good season the next day, as the coach left Randolph for Wrayburn at an early hour.



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