Drusilla with a Million
One morning when Drusilla was sitting in the small library reading the morning
paper her eyes caught the words: "Funeral of General Fairmont." She read of his
death in the little town in the Middle West, attended by a few of the officers of his
regiment and his lifelong friend, John Brierly.
Drusilla dropped the paper with an exclamation.
"John! And he's alive!"
She spent the next few hours with folded hands, her mind far in the past that was
recalled by seeing the name of John Brierly. She lived over again those girlhood
years when the world with John in it seemed the most beautiful place on earth.
She thought of her mother's failing health, her helplessness, her dependence.
She could almost hear her cry, "Don't leave me, Drusilla, don't leave me!" when
John went to her and asked that they might marry and meet life's battles
together. Drusilla never for a moment blamed her mother for her selfishness in
demanding all and giving nothing; and she never would admit, even to herself,
that her mother's obstinacy in refusing either to go with John and Drusilla or to
give her consent that they live with her, had ruined her life. Those years of
bitterness were past, and now she remembered only the happy days when she
and John were together and life seemed just one flowery path on which they
At last she rose and rang for the butler and asked him to telephone Mr. Thornton.
She could never get used to the telephone herself. She wanted Mr. Thornton to
come to her on his way home.
She passed the day impatiently awaiting his arrival. She could not occupy herself
with the flowers, nor could the baby at the gardener's cottage evoke any
enthusiasm, although she carefully looked over the clothing of one of the younger
Donalds that kindly Mrs. Donald had contributed for the baby's use.
At last the lawyer arrived. Drusilla hardly allowed him to be seated before she
broached the subject.
"Mr. Thornton, I want you to do me a great favor. I just read in the paper that an--
an old friend of mine that I thought dead long ago, is living in a little town in
southern Ohio. I want to know how he is getting along, what he is doing, how he
is living. I want you to send some one out there and find out all about it. I want to
know if he's comfortable off, and happy. He may be poor, and he may be lonely.
Find out all about him, and let me know."
The lawyer started to say something.
"No, don't say a word, and don't talk about writin' out. That ain't what I want. I
want to know, and letters won't tell me nothing. Do this for me--send some one;
'cause if you don't I'll start myself to-morrow. I'm goin' to know how life's usin'
She leaned over and touched the lawyer's hand.
"Don't always be agin me, Mr. Thornton. I got my heart in this. John Brierly meant
all the world to me once, and although I'm old now I ain't forgot. There's some
things, you know, we don't forget."