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Waffles And Mustard
by [?]

For some years O’Hara lived with his niece, an orphan. She was eighteen, and there might have been some gossip, but O’Hara forestalled it by hiring old Mrs. Mullarky.

O’Hara bought his niece a pup and had a dog-house built and put in the yard. He christened the pup himself, naming it Waffles, because, he said, the minute he saw the pup it reminded him of Dolly. The pup was just the color of the waffles Dolly baked–“baked” is O’Hara’s word. So he bought Waffles and brought him home to Dolly, and the girl loved the dog from the first minute. Then, just as the dog had outgrown puppyhood, O’Hara died.

His will was found in the safe in his office. Old Judge Mackinnon, who shared the office with O’Hara, found the will the day after O’Hara died. It was in a white legal envelope endorsed, “My Will, Haddon O’Hara.” The Judge opened the envelope–it was not sealed–and took out the will. The will was not filled in on a printed form–it was a holograph will, written in O’Hara’s own hand. It began in the usual formal manner and there were two bequests. The first read: “To my niece, Dorothy O’Hara, since she is so extremely fond of her dog Waffles, I give and bequeath the dog-house now on my property at 342 Locust Street, Riverbank, Iowa.” The second read: “Secondly, to my cousin Ardelia Doblin I bequeath the entire remainder and residue of my estate,” etc.

Judge Mackinnon frowned as he read these two bequests. He knew Ardelia Doblin as a spiteful, scandal-mongering woman. To cut off Dolly O’Hara with a dog-house and give his entire estate to Ardelia Doblin might be O’Hara’s idea of a joke, but the Judge did not like it. He read the final clause, appointing him sole executor without bond. O’Hara’s signature was correctly appended. The will was dated July 1, 1913. It was witnessed by Philo Gubb and Max Bilton. The Judge knew both witnesses. Gubb was the eccentric paper-hanger who thought he was a detective because he had taken a correspondence course, and Bilton was a jaundiced loafer, commonly called Mustard. The good old man sighed and was about to put the will back in the envelope when he noticed three letters at the bottom of the sheet. They were “P.T.O.” Now “P.T.O.” is an English abbreviation that means “Please Turn Over.” The Judge turned the paper over.

Suddenly he smiled. Then he looked grave again. And then he grinned. After which he shook his head.

The reverse of the sheet contained a will exactly like that on the obverse. Word for word it was the same. Line for line, punctuation mark for punctuation mark, the two wills on the opposite sides of the sheet were identical except for two words. In the will the Judge was now reading, the name Sarah P. Kinsey was substituted for the name Ardelia Doblin. The date was the same. The witnesses were the same. There were two wills, one written on one side of the sheet and the other written on the other side of the sheet, of the same date, with the same signature, and with the same witnesses. O’Hara had joked to the last.

“This is a dickens of a joke!” exclaimed Judge Mackinnon. “O’Hara should not have done this!”

He saw the property of Haddon O’Hara being dissipated in lawsuits over this remarkable will. He knew Sarah P. Kinsey as well as he knew Ardelia Doblin, and she was just such another mean cantankerous individual.

“A joke’s a joke, but you shouldn’t have done this, O’Hara!” said the Judge.

There was nothing to do but notify the parties concerned. He went to see Dolly O’Hara first and told her, as gently as he could, about the will. She cried a little, softly, at first, and then she smiled bravely.

“You mustn’t worry about it, Judge Mackinnon,” she said. “I–of course I never thought what Uncle Haddon would do with his money. And–and we used to joke about the dog-house. He always said he would leave it to me in his will. Uncle Haddon loved to joke, Judge Mackinnon.”