Mrs. Jane, in a worried voice. "Do you know how much we'll HAVE to pay?

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And isn't there any way we can save doing that?"

Before Mr. Norton could answer, a heavy step down the hall heralded Mr. Frank Blaisdell's advance, and in the ensuing confusion of his arrival, Mr. Smith slipped away. As he passed the lawyer, however, Mellicent thought she heard him mutter, "You rascal!" But afterwards she concluded she must have been mistaken, for the two men appeared to become at once the best of friends. Mr. Norton remained in town several days, and frequently she saw him and Mr. Smith chatting pleasantly together, or starting off apparently for a walk. Mellicent was very sure, therefore, that she must have been mistaken in thinking she had heard Mr. Smith utter so remarkable an exclamation as he left the room that first day.

During the stay of Mr. Norton in Hillerton, and for some days afterward, the Blaisdells were too absorbed in the mere details of acquiring and temporarily investing their wealth to pay attention to anything else. Under the guidance of Mr. Norton, Mr. Robert Chalmers, and the heads of two other Hillerton banks, the three legatees set themselves to the task of "finding a place to put it," as Miss Flora breathlessly termed it.

Mrs. Hattie said that, for her part, she should like to leave their share all in the bank: then she'd have it to spend whenever she wanted it. She yielded to the shocked protestations of the others, however, and finally consented that her husband should invest a large part of it in the bonds he so wanted, leaving a generous sum in the bank in her own name. She was assured that the bonds were just as good as money, anyway, as they were the kind that were readily convertible into cash.

Mrs. Jane, when she understood the matter, was for investing every cent of theirs where it would draw the largest interest possible. Mrs. Jane had never before known very much about interest, and she was fascinated with its delightful possibilities. She spent whole days joyfully figuring percentages, and was awakened from her happy absorption only by the unpleasant realization that her husband was not in sympathy with her ideas at all. He said that the money was his, not hers, and that, for once in his life, he was going to have his way. "His way" in this case proved to be the prompt buying-out of the competing grocery on the other corner, and the establishing of good-sized bank account. The rest of the money he said Jane might invest for a hundred per cent, if she wanted to.

Jane was pleased to this extent, and asked if it were possible that she could get such a splendid rate as one hundred per cent. She had not figured on that! She was not so pleased later, when Mr. Norton and the bankers told her what she COULD get—with safety; and she was very angry because they finally appealed to her husband and she was obliged to content herself with a paltry five or six per cent, when there were such lovely mining stocks and oil wells everywhere that would pay so much more.

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She told Flora that she ought to thank her stars that SHE had the money herself in her own name, to do just as she pleased with, without any old-fogy men bossing her.

But Flora only shivered and said "Mercy me!" and that, for her part, she wished she didn't have to say what to do with it. She was scared of her life of it, anyway, and she was just sure she should lose it, whatever she did with it; and she 'most wished she didn't have it, only it would be nice, of course, to buy things with it—and she supposed she would buy things with it, after a while, when she got used to it, and was not afraid to spend it.

Miss Flora was, indeed, quite breathless most of the time, these days. She tried very hard to give the kind gentlemen who were helping her no trouble, and she showed herself eager always to take their advice. But she wished they would not ask her opinion; she was always afraid to give it, and she didn't have one, anyway; only she did worry, of course, and she had to ask them sometimes if they were real sure the places they had put her money were perfectly safe, and just couldn't blow up. It was so comforting always to see them smile, and hear them say: "Perfectly, my dear Miss Flora, perfectly! Give yourself no uneasiness." To be sure, one day, the big fat man, not Mr. Chalmers, did snap out: "No, madam; only the Lord Almighty can guarantee a government bond—the whole country may be blown to atoms by a volcano to-morrow morning!"

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She was startled, terribly startled; but she saw at once, of course, that it must be just his way of joking, for of course there wasn't any volcano big enough to blow up the whole United States; and, anyway, she did not think it was nice of him, and it was almost like swearing, to say "the Lord Almighty" in that tone of voice. She never liked that fat man again. After that she always talked to Mr. Chalmers, or to the other man with a wart on his nose.

Miss Flora had never had a check-book before, but she tried very hard to learn how to use it, and to show herself not too stupid. She was glad there were such a lot of checks in the book, but she didn't believe she'd ever spend them all—such a lot of money! She had had a savings-bank book, to be sure, but she not been able to put anything in the bank for a long time, and she had been worrying a good deal lately for fear she would have to draw some out, business had been so dull. But she would not have to do that now, of course, with all this money that had come to her.

They told her that she could have all the money she wanted by just filling out one of the little slips in her check-book the way they had told her to do it and taking it to Mr. Chalmers's bank—that there were a good many thousand dollars there waiting for her to spend, just as she liked; and that, when they were gone, Mr. Chalmers would tell her how to sell some of her bonds and get more. It seemed very wonderful!

There were other things, too, that they had told her—too many for her to remember—something about interest, and things called coupons that must be cut off the bonds at certain times. She tried to remember it all; but Mr. Chalmers had been very kind and had told her not to fret. He would help her when the time came. Meanwhile, he had rented her a nice tin box (that pulled out like a drawer) in the safety-deposit vault under the bank, where she could keep her bonds and all the other papers—such a lot of them!—that Mr. Chalmers told her she must keep very carefully.