The Girl from Montana (Chapter 9, page 2 of 8)


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Chapter 9

She studied the name on the envelope. George Trescott Benedict, 2----
Walnut Street, Philadelphia, Penn. The letters were large and angular, not
easy to read; but she puzzled them out. It did not look like his writing.
She had watched him as he wrote the old woman's address in his little red
book. He wrote small, round letters, slanting backwards, plain as print,
pleasant writing to read. Now the old woman's address would never be of
any use, and her wish that Elizabeth should travel alone was fulfilled.

There was a faint perfume from the envelope like Weldwood flowers. She
breathed it in, and wondered at it. Was it perfume from something he
carried in his pocket, some flower his lady had once given him? But this
was not a pleasant thought. She put the envelope into her bosom after
studying it again carefully until she knew the words by heart.

Then she drew forth the papers of her mother's that she had brought from
home, and for the first time read them over.

The first was the marriage certificate. That she had seen before, and had
studied with awe; but the others had been kept in a box that was never
opened by the children. The mother kept them sacredly, always with the
certificate on the top.

The largest paper she could not understand. It was something about a
mine. There were a great many "herebys" and "whereases" and "agreements"
in it. She put it back into the wrapper as of little account, probably
something belonging to her father, which her mother had treasured for old
time's sake.

Then came a paper which related to the claim where their little log home
had stood, and upon the extreme edge of which the graves were. That, too,
she laid reverently within its wrapper.

Next came a bit of pasteboard whereon was inscribed, "Mrs. Merrill Wilton
Bailey, Rittenhouse Square, Tuesdays." That she knew was her grandmother's
name, though she had never seen the card before--her father's mother. She
looked at the card in wonder. It was almost like a distant view of the
lady in question. What kind of a place might Rittenhouse Square be, and
where was it? There was no telling. It might be near that wonderful Desert
of Sahara that the man had talked about. She laid it down with a sigh.

There was only one paper left, and that was a letter written in pale
pencil lines. It said: "My dear Bessie: Your pa died last week. He was killed falling
from a scaffold. He was buried on Monday with five carriages and
everything nice. We all got new black dresses, and have enough
for a stone. If it don't cost too much, we'll have an angle on
the top. I always thought an angle pointing to heaven was nice.
We wish you was here. We miss you very much. I hope your husband
is good to you. Why don't you write to us? You haven't wrote
since your little girl was born. I s'pose you call her Bessie
like you. If anything ever happens to you, you can send her to
me. I'd kind of like her to fill your place. Your sister has
got a baby girl too. She calls her Lizzie. We couldn't somehow
have it natural to call her 'Lizabeth, and Nan wanted her called
for me. I was always Lizzie, you know. Now you must write soon.

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