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The Mission of Mr. Scatters
by [?]

Mr. Scatters began, tapping his host’s breast and looking at him fixedly, “You had a brother some years ago named John.” It was more like an accusation than a question.

“Yes, suh, I had a brothah John.”

“Uh, huh, and that brother migrated to the West Indies.”

“Yes, suh, he went out to some o’ dem outlandish places.”

“Hold on, sir, hold on, I am a West Indian myself.”

“I do’ mean no erfence, ‘ceptin’ dat John allus was of a rovin’ dispersition.”

“Very well, you know no more about your brother after his departure for the West Indies?”

“No, suh.”

“Well, it is my mission to tell you the rest of the story. Your brother John landed at Cuba, and after working about some years and living frugally, he went into the coffee business, in which he became rich.”


“Rich, sir.”

“Why, bless my soul, who’d ‘a evah thought that of John? Why, suh, I’m sho’ly proud to hyeah it. Why don’t he come home an’ visit a body?”

“Ah, why?” said Mr. Scatters dramatically. “Now comes the most painful part of my mission. ‘In the midst of life we are in death.'” Mr. Scatters sighed, Isaac sighed and wiped his eyes. “Two years ago your brother departed this life.”

“Was he saved?” Isaac asked in a choked voice. Scatters gave him one startled glance, and then answered hastily, “I am happy to say that he was.”

“Poor John! He gone an’ me lef’.”

“Even in the midst of our sorrows, however, there is always a ray of light. Your brother remembered you in his will.”

“Remembered me?”

“Remembered you, and as one of the executors of his estate,”–Mr. Scatters rose and went softly over to his valise, from which he took a large square package. He came back with it, holding it as if it were something sacred,–“as one of the executors of his estate, which is now settled, I was commissioned to bring you this.” He tapped the package. “This package, sealed as you see with the seal of Cuba, contains five thousand dollars in notes and bonds.”

Isaac gasped and reached for the bundle, but it was withdrawn. “I am, however, not to deliver it to you yet. There are certain formalities which my country demands to be gone through with, after which I deliver my message and return to the fairest of lands, to the Gem of the Antilles. Let me congratulate you, Mr. Jackson, upon your good fortune.”

Isaac yielded up his hand mechanically. He was dazed by the vision of this sudden wealth.

“Fi’ thousan’ dollahs,” he repeated.

“Yes, sir, five thousand dollars. It is a goodly sum, and in the meantime, until court convenes, I wish you to recommend some safe place in which to put this money, as I do not feel secure with it about my person, nor would it be secure if it were known to be in your house.”

“I reckon Albert Matthews’ grocery would be the safes’ place fu’ it. He’s got one o’ dem i’on saftes.”

“The very place. Let us go there at once, and after that I will not encroach upon your hospitality longer, but attempt to find a hotel.”

“Hotel nothin’,” said Isaac emphatically. “Ef my house ain’t too common, you’ll stay right thaih ontwell co’t sets.”

“This is very kind of you, Mr. Jackson, but really I couldn’t think of being such a charge upon you and your good wife.”

“‘Tain’t no charge on us; we’ll be glad to have you. Folks hyeah in Miltonville has little enough comp’ny, de Lawd knows.”

Isaac spoke the truth, and it was as much the knowledge that he would be the envy of all the town as his gratitude to Scatters that prompted him to prevail upon his visitor to stay.

Scatters was finally persuaded, and the men only paused long enough in the house to tell the curiosity-eaten Martha Ann the news, and then started for Albert Matthews’ store. Scatters carried the precious package, and Isaac was armed with an old shotgun lest anyone should suspect their treasure and attack them. Five thousand dollars was not to be carelessly handled!