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The Stillwater Tragedy - Chapter 28 Post by :jasonroland Category :Long Stories Author :Thomas Bailey Aldrich Date :May 2012 Read :1671

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The Stillwater Tragedy - Chapter 28


One June Morning, precisely a year from that morning when the reader first saw the daylight breaking upon Stillwater, several workmen with ladders and hammers were putting up a freshly painted sign over the gate of the marble yard. Mr. Slocum and Richard stood on the opposite curbstone, to which they had retired in order to take in the general effect. The new sign read,--Slocum & Shackford. Richard protested against the displacement of its weather-stained predecessor; it seemed to him an act little short of vandalism; but Mr. Slocum was obstinate, and would have it done. He was secretly atoning for a deep injustice, into which Richard had been at once too sensitive and too wise closely to inquire. If Mr. Slocum had harbored a temporary doubt of him Richard did not care to know it; it was quite enough to suspect the fact. His sufficient recompense was that Margaret had not doubted. They had now been married six months. The shadow of the tragedy in Welch's Court had long ceased to oppress them; it had vanished with the hasty departure of Mr. Taggett. Neither he nor William Durgin was ever seen again in the flesh in Stillwater; but they both still led, and will probably continue for years to lead, a sort of phantasmal, legendary life in Snelling's bar-room. Durgin in his flight had left no traces. From time to time, as the months rolled on, a misty rumor was blown to the town of his having been seen in some remote foreign city,--now in one place, and now in another, always on the point of departing, self-pursued like the Wandering Jew; but nothing authentic. His after-fate was to be a sealed book in Stillwater.

"I really wish you had let the old sign stand," said Richard, as the carpenters removed the ladders. "The yard can never be anything but Slocum's Yard."

"It looks remarkably well up thee," replied Mr. Slocum, shading his eyes critically with one hand. "You object to the change, but for my part I don't object to changes. I trust I may live to see the day when even this sign will have to be altered to--Slocum, Shackford & Son. How would you like that?"

"I can't say," returned Richard laughing, as they passed into the yard together. "I should first have to talk it over--with the son!"

Thomas Bailey Aldrich's Novel: Stillwater Tragedy

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