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XV. More Gossip
On the evening after Mrs. Myra Murray of the over-harbour section had been
buried Miss Cornelia and Mary Vance came up to Ingleside. There were several
things concerning which Miss Cornelia wished to unburden her soul. The funeral
had to be all talked over, of course. Susan and Miss Cornelia thrashed this out
between them; Anne took no part or delight in such goulish conversations. She
sat a little apart and watched the autumnal flame of dahlias in the garden, and
the dreaming, glamorous harbour of the September sunset. Mary Vance sat
beside her, knitting meekly. Mary's heart was down in the Rainbow Valley,
whence came sweet, distance-softened sounds of children's laughter, but her
fingers were under Miss Cornelia's eye. She had to knit so many rounds of her
stocking before she might go to the valley. Mary knit and held her tongue, but
used her ears.
"I never saw a nicer looking corpse," said Miss Cornelia judicially. "Myra Murray
was always a pretty woman--she was a Corey from Lowbridge and the Coreys
were noted for their good looks."
"I said to the corpse as I passed it, 'poor woman. I hope you are as happy as you
look.'" sighed Susan. "She had not changed much. That dress she wore was the
black satin she got for her daughter's wedding fourteen years ago. Her Aunt told
her then to keep it for her funeral, but Myra laughed and said, 'I may wear it to my
funeral, Aunty, but I will have a good time out of it first.' And I may say she did.
Myra Murray was not a woman to attend her own funeral before she died. Many
a time afterwards when I saw her enjoying herself out in company I thought to
myself, 'You are a handsome woman, Myra Murray, and that dress becomes you,
but it will likely be your shroud at last.' And you see my words have come true,
Mrs. Marshall Elliott."
Susan sighed again heavily. She was enjoying herself hugely. A funeral was
really a delightful subject of conversation.
"I always liked to meet Myra," said Miss Cornelia. "She was always so gay and
cheerful--she made you feel better just by her handshake. Myra always made the
best of things."
"That is true," asserted Susan. "Her sister-in-law told me that when the doctor
told her at last that he could do nothing for her and she would never rise from
that bed again, Myra said quite cheerfully, 'Well, if that is so, I'm thankful the
preserving is all done, and I will not have to face the fall house-cleaning. I always
liked house-cleaning in spring,' she says, 'but I always hated it in the fall. I will get
clear of it this year, thank goodness.' There are people who would call that levity,
Mrs. Marshall Elliott, and I think her sister-in-law was a little ashamed of it. She
said perhaps her sickness had made Myra a little light-headed. But I said, 'No,
Mrs. Murray, do not worry over it. It was just Myra's way of looking at the bright
"Her sister Luella was just the opposite," said Miss Cornelia. "There was no
bright side for Luella--there was just black and shades of gray. For years she
used always to be declaring she was going to die in a week or so. 'I won't be