BOOK III. WAITING FOR DEATH.
32. CHAPTER XXXII.
"They'll take suggestion as a cat laps milk."
The triumphant confidence of the Mayor founded on Mr. Featherstone's
insistent demand that Fred and his mother should not leave him,
was a feeble emotion compared with all that was agitating the breasts
of the old man's blood-relations, who naturally manifested more
their sense of the family tie and were more visibly numerous now
that he had become bedridden. Naturally: for when "poor Peter"
had occupied his arm-chair in the wainscoted parlor, no assiduous
beetles for whom the cook prepares boiling water could have been
less welcome on a hearth which they had reasons for preferring,
than those persons whose Featherstone blood was ill-nourished, not
from penuriousness on their part, but from poverty. Brother Solomon
and Sister Jane were rich, and the family candor and total abstinence
from false politeness with which they were always received
seemed to them no argument that their brother in the solemn act
of making his will would overlook the superior claims of wealth.
Themselves at least he had never been unnatural enough to banish from
his house, and it seemed hardly eccentric that he should hare kept
away Brother Jonah, Sister Martha, and the rest, who had no shadow
of such claims. They knew Peter's maxim, that money was a good egg,
and should be laid in a warm nest.