"Mrs. Blodgett," he said, clearing his throat and looking considerably embarrassed, "Mrs. Blodgett."
"Well, what do you want of Mrs. Blodgett?" was the widow's testy answer, and the doctor replied, "I did not finish what I wished to say to you the other day, and it's a maxim of mine, if a person has anything on his mind, he had better tell it at once."
"Certainly, ease yourself off, do," and Janet's little gray eyes twinkled with delight, as she thought how crestfallen he would look when she told him her property was gone.
"I was going, Mrs. Blodgett," he continued, "I was going to propose to you--"
He never finished the sentence, for the widow sprang to her feet, exclaiming, "It's of no kind of use! I've gin my property all to Maude; half of it the day she's eighteen, and the rest on't is willed to her when I die, so you may as well let me alone," and feeling greatly flurried with what she verily believed to have been an offer, she walked away, leaving the doctor to think her the most inexplicable woman he ever saw.
The next day Janet received an invitation to visit her husband's sister who lived in Canada. The invitation was accepted, and to his great delight the doctor saw her drive from his door, just one week after his last amusing interview. In Canada Janet formed the acquaintance of a man full ten years her junior. He had been a distant relative of her husband, and knowing of her property, asked her to be his wife. For several days Janet studied her face to see what was in it "which made every man in Christendom want her!" and, concluding at last that "handsome is that handsome does," said "Yes," and made Peter Hopkins the happiest of men.
There was a bridal trip to Laurel Hill, where the new husband ascertained that the half of that for which he had married was beyond his reach; but being naturally of a hopeful nature, he did not despair of eventually changing the will, so he swallowed his disappointment and redoubled his attentions to his mother-wife, now Mrs. Janet Blodgett Hopkins.
Meantime the story that Maude was an heiress circulated rapidly, and as the lawyer kept his own counsel and Maude, in accordance with Janet's request, never told how much had been given her, the amount was doubled; nay, in some cases trebled, and she suddenly found herself a person of considerable importance, particularly in the estimation of Dr. Kennedy, who, aside from setting a high value upon money, fancied he saw a way by which he himself could reap some benefit from his stepdaughter's fortune. If Maude had money she certainly ought to pay for her board, and so he said to her one day, prefacing his remarks with his stereotyped phrase that "'twas a maxim of his that one person should not live upon another if they could help it."