used to be. And she was that lazy!
Often I'd come down at eight o'clock
and find the rooms "wasn't swept and
the pigs not fed and the chickens
hungry for food and Maryd just
stare at me in her slupid-wayund say
nothing. I couldn't trauTher at all.
We'd have packed her off, hut for
our charitable natures-resides a
maid w.ould have cost fifteen dol
lars a month. ,
"Well, would you- believe it, Mary
and the old man struck up the queer
est kind ol friendship. She used. Jo
steal pies and things for him out of
the kitchen "When J was away. Fanqy
an old man oT eighty-eight eating pie!
Anr she'd give him blankets fpr his
bed when it was cold my blanketSj
that I keep for company, all wool; and
costing five dollars, a pair!
" 'Well, Maria,' said Silas, when I
told him I couldn't do anything with
her, 'I guess them paupers just nat
urally takes to one another,' And
that was the way it seemed to me. If
I had known! But I'm a simple wo
man, Mrs. Tompkins, and it never en
tered my head what a designing hus
sy she was.
"Well, it was on the old man's
eighty-ninth birthday, and he hadn't
done a chore for two days, and Silas
spoke up to him.
" 'Uncle John,' he said, I guess we
can't keep you for nothing. You
never was worth anything to me and
now you'd best apply to the poor
house.' "-Toorhouse?" says Uncle John,
looking kind of surprised. 'Why,
nephew, I'm not going to any poor
house. I'm eighty-nine today, and
when a man eighty-nine he's sup
posed to be dead, and I've got twen
ty thousand dollars due me this
morning. I'm expecting a letter any
"Well, you could have knocked me
down with a feather. But this is
what had happened. It -was that old
tontine. It seems that sixty years
before uncle John and ten other
young men had each put five hundred
dollars into "what they called a ton
tine, which meant that the one that
lived the longest of them all got QxfeP0"1
whole of the money with the accum- "
ulated interest on his eighty-ninth1' y
birthday. If none of them lived so 3i
long, then it went to the heirs of the?""
one that lived loncest. And Uncle"
John was the last of them and bemgtfBrt
supposed to be dead, by life insuri pj
ance rules, at eignty-nme, tnere was "
twenty thousand coming to him. '
"And sure enough it came thafcJB
morning. And do you know, he acted1'8'
in the queerest way. He forgot all
about our kindness to him and want-' J
ed to go off and enjoy himself. Well, a
we couldn't let an old man that -age1 J3
go into the hard world with all that1 "l
money to squander. He gave in at1""
last, but he wouldn't let Silas, put his b.a y
money in the bank for him, nor he '
wouldn't buy a share in the farm ?
neither. ,Ji i
" 'No, Maria,' he said, chuckling! n
Til stay -since you seem sq fond of1'
me. But it's "cold in the attic and my
old bones are chilly.' "jj
" 'Then why don't you say so?' I"l
answered. 'We'd have put you in the ""
best room, only Silas was waiting to"1
have it painted.' "'
"He chuckled in the most malicious J
way, which, seeing all we had donell,J t
for him, was at least cruel. But those 'Tj -
Villi 1UCU UUU I "ttYC UIO 00,144c UUUIOU I
"Well nftpr that TTtip.Ir John stavfifl
on with us, and of course we couldn't?
let an old man. like that do any work.
He "just mooned about the farm,
smoking his pipe and eating his
neaa on, ana seeming 10 grow h
Mary; too. I'd thought of getting rid
of her, but Uncle John Wouldn't hear"';
of that 'Keep her, the ..good-for- oi
nnfMncr wpniVh.' hs RJlld. 'Til TnnlrA i
her work.' And he used to give her J 1
talk to her about her duties to hW'0
benefactors which almost brought50'
tears of joy to Silas' eyes and mine.10
Rut Mary didh t seem to care
xml | txt