Page:Eliot - Middlemarch, vol. II, 1872.djvu/217

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207
BOOK IV.—THREE LOVE PROBLEMS.

these being the occasion of the codicil), and the bequest of all the land lying in Lowick parish with all the stock and household furniture, to Joshua Rigg. The residue of the property was to be devoted to the erection and endowment of almshouses for old men, to be called Featherstone's Alms-Houses, and to be built on a piece of land near Middlemarch already bought for the purpose by the testator, he wishing—so the document declared—to please God Almighty. Nobody present had a farthing; but Mr Trumbull had the gold-headed cane. It took some time for the company to recover the power of expression. Mary dared not look at Fred.

Mr Vincy was the first to speak—after using his snuffbox energetically—and he spoke with loud indignation. "The most unaccountable will I ever heard! I should say he was not in his right mind when he made it. I should say this last will was void," added Mr Vincy, feeling that this expression put the thing in the true light. "Eh Standish?"

"Our deceased friend always knew what he was about, I think," said Mr Standish. "Everything is quite regular. Here is a letter from Clemmens of Brassing tied with the will. He drew it up. A very respectable solicitor."