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|True Riches||T.S. Arthur|
|Page 1 of 6||
"Edward," said Mr. Jasper, on the next morning, soon after he came to the store, "Was any time fixed for the funeral yesterday?"
"I believe not."
"That was an oversight. It might as well take place to-day as to-morrow, or a week hence, if there are no intimate friends or relatives to be thought of or consulted. I wish you would take the forenoon to see about this troublesome matter. The undertaker will, of course, do every thing according to your directions. Let there be as little expense as possible."
While they were yet speaking, the undertaker came in to make inquiry as to the funeral arrangements to be observed.
"Is the coffin ready?" asked Jasper, in a cold, business manner.
"It is," was the reply.
"What of the ground? Did you see to her husband's funeral?"
"Yes. I have attended to all these matters. Nothing remains but to fix the time, and notify the clergyman."
"Were you at the house this morning?" asked Jasper.
"Who did you find there?"
"One or two of the neighbours were in."
"No near relatives of the deceased?"
"Not to my knowledge."
"Was any thing said about the time for burying Mrs. Elder?"
"No. That matter, I suppose, will rest with you."
"In that case, I see no reason for delay," said Jasper. "What end is served?"
"The sooner it is over the better."
"So I think. Suppose we say this afternoon?"
"Very well. The time might be fixed at five. The graveyard is not very distant. How many carriages shall I order?"
"Not many. Two, I should think, would be enough," replied Jasper. "There will not be much left, I presume; therefore, the lighter the funeral expenses the better. By the way, did you see the child, when you were there this morning?"
"Some neighbour has, in all probability, taken it."
"Very likely. It is a beautiful child."
"Yes--rather pretty," was Jasper's cold response.
"So young to be left alone in the world. Ah, me! But these things will happen. So, you decide to have the funeral at five this afternoon?"
"Yes; unless something that we do not now know of, interferes to prevent. The quicker a matter like this is over the better."
"True. Very well."
"You will see to every thing?"
"Certainly; that is my business. Will you be at the house this afternoon?"
"At the time of the funeral?"
"I think not. I can't do any good."
"No,--only for the looks of the thing."
The undertaker was already beginning to feel the heartless indifference of Jasper, and his last remark was half in irony, half in smothered contempt.
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