Copy-Cat and Other Stories
JIM BENNET had never married. He had passed middle life, and possessed considerable
property. Susan Adkins kept house for him. She was a widow and a very distant relative.
Jim had two nieces, his brother's daughters. One, Alma Beecher, was married; the other,
Amanda, was not. The nieces had naively grasping views concerning their uncle and his
property. They stated freely that they considered him unable to care for it; that a guardian
should be appointed and the property be theirs at once. They consulted Lawyer Thomas
Hopkinson with regard to it; they discoursed at length upon what they claimed to be an
idiosyncrasy of Jim's, denoting failing mental powers.
"He keeps a perfect slew of cats, and has a coal fire for them in the woodshed all winter,"
"Why in thunder shouldn't he keep a fire in the woodshed if he wants to?" demanded
Hopkinson. "I know of no law against it. And there isn't a law in the country regulating
the number of cats a man can keep." Thomas Hopkinson, who was an old friend of Jim's,
gave his prominent chin an upward jerk as he sat in his office arm-chair before his
"There is something besides cats," said Alma
"He talks to himself."
"What in creation do you expect the poor man to do? He can't talk to Susan Adkins about
a blessed thing except tidies and pincushions. That woman hasn't a thought in her mind
outside her soul's salvation and fancy-work. Jim has to talk once in a while to keep
himself a man. What if he does talk to himself? I talk to myself. Next thing you will want
to be appointed guardian over me, Amanda."
Hopkinson was a bachelor, and Amanda flushed angrily.
"He wasn't what I call even gentlemanly," she told Alma, when the two were on their way
"I suppose Tom Hopkinson thought you were setting your cap at him," retorted Alma.
She relished the dignity of her married state, and enjoyed giving her spinster sister little
claws when occasion called. However, Amanda had a temper of her own, and she could
"YOU needn't talk," said she. "You only took Joe Beecher when you had given up getting
anybody better. You wanted Tom Hopkinson yourself. I haven't forgotten that blue silk