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- Herbert Carter's Legacy - 6/39 -
for her own share--one hundred dollars--since she desires it."
"I insist upon your sending me the children's money also," said the lady angrily. "He ain't fit to take charge of it."
"You may insist as much as you like, Mrs. Pinkerton," said the lawyer, coolly, "but it will be useless. As the head of the family, I shall send the money designed for the children to your husband."
"Do you call him the head of the family?" demanded the angry Maria. "I would have you to know, sir, that I am the head of the family."
"The law does not recognize you as such. As to the pantaloons, which form a part of the legacy, I will forward them to you, if you wish."
"Do you mean to insult me, sir?" gasped Mrs. Pinkerton, growing very red in the face.
"Not at all; but they were left either to you or your husband, as you might jointly agree."
The lady was about to decline accepting them at all, but it occurred to her that they might be made over to suit her husband, and so save the expense of a new pair, and, she directed that they should be sent to him.
Then, gathering her family about her, she strode majestically from the office, shaking off, metaphorically, the dust of her feet against it.
Next Mr. Granger, after a few words with the lawyer, departed. Mr. Cornelius Dixon also announced that he must depart.
"Come and see me some time in the city," he said to Herbert, "and if you ever get a windfall just put it into my hands, and I'll go into business with you."
"I'll remember," said Herbert, "but I'm afraid it'll be a good while before that."
"I don't know about that. You can open a second-hand clothing store. The old man's left you a good stock in trade. Good joke, isn't it? Good-by."
Next Miss Nancy rose to go.
"Tell your mother to call and see me, my boy," she said, kindly, to Herbert. "I wish my brother'd left her more, for I know she needs it."
"Thank you, Miss Nancy," said Herbert, respectfully; "but we don't complain. We are thankful for what we have received."
"You're the best of 'em," said the old lady, earnestly. "You're a good boy, and God will prosper you."
She went out, and of the eight heirs Herbert alone remained.
THE LAWYER'S HOME
The lawyer regarded Herbert with a smile.
"Your uncle's will doesn't seem to have given general satisfaction," he said.
"No," responded Herbert; "but for my part I have come out as well as I expected."
"I suppose you know Mr. Carter was rich?"
"So my mother told me."
"How much do you think he was worth?"
Herbert was rather surprised at this question. Why should the lawyer ask it, when of course he knew much more about the matter?
"About a hundred thousand dollars, I suppose," he answered.
"You are not far wrong. Now doesn't your share, and your mother's, seem very small compared with this large amount?"
"It is very small compared with that, but we had no claim to anything. The clothes and the money will be very useful to us."
"You are a model heir," said Mr. Spencer, smiling "You alone do not find fault, except, of course, Miss Nancy, who has fared the best."
"I would rather make a fortune for myself than inherit one from another," said Herbert, sturdily.
"I respect your independence, my boy," said the lawyer, who felt favorably disposed toward our hero. "Still, a legacy isn't to be despised. Now tell me when you want to take your trunk."
"I want to ask your advice about that," said Herbert. "I walked over from Wrayburn. How shall I carry the trunk back?"
"You will have to return by the stage to-morrow morning, that is, if you are ready to go back so soon."
"Do they charge much to stop overnight at the hotel?" asked Herbert, anxiously, for he had but seventy-five cents with him. It occurred to him how foolish he had been not to consider that it would be necessary for him to spend the night in Randolph.
"I don't know exactly how much. I think they charge fifty cents for a bed, and the same for each meal."
Herbert's face lengthened, and he became alarmed. How was he going to manage, on his limited resources?
The lawyer penetrated his perplexity, and, being a kind-hearted man, quickly came to his relief.
"I think you would find it lonely at the hotel, my boy," he said, "and I shall therefore invite you to pass the night at my house instead."
"You are very kind, sir," said Herbert, gratefully, finding his difficulty happily removed. "I accept your invitation with pleasure."
"The boy has been well brought up, if he is poor," thought Mr. Spencer. "Well," he said, "that is settled. I think our supper must be ready, so we will go over to the house at once. By the way, there is a boy from your town visiting my son. You must know him?"
"Is it James Leech?" asked Herbert, remembering what James had told him.
"Yes. Do you know him?"
"We are schoolmates."
"Then it will be pleasant for you to meet."
Herbert was not quite sure about this, but forbore to say so.
He accompanied Mr. Spencer to his house, which was just across the street from the office, and followed the lawyer into an apartment handsomely furnished. James Leech and Tom Spencer were sitting at a small table, playing checkers.
"Hello, Carter!" exclaimed James, in surprise, "how came you here?"
"Mr. Spencer invited me," said Herbert, not surprised at the mode of address.
"Did your uncle leave you anything?" asked James, with interest.
"He left my mother a hundred dollars."
"That isn't much," said James, contemptuously. "Was that all?"
"No, he left me a trunk, and what is in it."
"What is in it?"
"Clothes, I believe."
"A lot of old clothes!" commented James, turning up his nose. "That's a fine legacy, I must say."
"I shall find them useful," said Herbert, quietly.
"Oh, no doubt. You can roll up the pants and coat-sleeves. It will be fun to see you parading round in your uncle's tailcoats."
"I don't think you'll have that pleasure," said Herbert, flushing. "If I wear them I shall have them made over for me."
"I congratulate you on your new and extensive wardrobe," said James, mockingly. "Won't you cut a dash, though, on the streets of Wrayburn!"
Herbert did not deign a reply to this rude speech. Tom Spencer, who was much more of a gentleman than James, was disgusted with his impertinence. He rose, and took Herbert by the hand.
"You must let me introduce myself," he said. "My name is Thomas Spencer, and I am glad to see you here."
"Thank you," said Herbert, his heart opening at the frank and cordial manner of the other. "My name is Herbert Carter, and I am very glad to make your acquaintance."
"Are you going to finish this game, Tom?" drawled James, not relishing the idea of Herbert's receiving any attention from his friend.
"If you don't mind, we'll have it another time," said Tom. "There goes the supper bell, and I for one am hungry."
At the supper table James noticed, to his secret disgust, that Herbert was treated with as much consideration as himself. Mr. and Mrs.
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