The Leavenworth Case
27. Amy Belden
"A merrier man
Within the limits of becoming mirth,
I never spent an hour's talk withal."
--Love's Labour's Last.
I HAD a client in R---- by the name of Monell; and it was from him I had planned to
learn the best way of approaching Mrs. Belden. When, therefore, I was so fortunate as to
meet him, almost on my arrival, driving on the long road behind his famous trotter
Alfred, I regarded the encounter as a most auspicious beginning of a very doubtful
"Well, and how goes the day?" was his exclamation as, the first greetings passed, we
drove rapidly into town.
"Your part in it goes pretty smoothly," I returned; and thinking I could never hope to win
his attention to my own affairs till I had satisfied him in regard to his, I told him all I
could concerning the law-suit then pending; a subject so prolific of question and answer,
that we had driven twice round the town before he remembered he had a letter to post. As
it was an important one, admitting of no delay, we hasted at once to the post-office,
where he went in, leaving me outside to watch the rather meagre stream of goers and
comers who at that time of day make the post-office of a country town their place of
rendezvous. Among these, for some reason, I especially noted one middle-aged woman;
why, I cannot say; her appearance was anything but remarkable. And yet when she came
out, with two letters in her hand, one in a large and one in might be induced to give a bed
to a friend of mine who is very anxious to be near the post-office on account of a business
telegram he is expecting, and which when it comes will demand his immediate attention."
And Mr. Monell gave me a sly wink of his eye, little imagining how near the mark he had
"You need not say that. Tell her I have a peculiar dislike to sleeping in a public house,
and that you know of no one better fitted to accommodate me, for the short time I desire
to be in town, than herself."
"And what will be said of my hospitality in allowing you under these circumstances to
remain in any other house than my own?"
"I don't know; very hard things, no doubt; but I guess your hospitality can stand it."
"Well, if you persist, we will see what can be done." And driving up to a neat white
cottage of homely, but sufficiently attractive appearance, he stopped.
"This is her house," said he, jumping to the ground; "let's go in and see what we can do."