EXCERPT FROM THE BOOK: Mrs. Prymmer, musing enjoyably over these lines, had her attention distracted by her cat, who was mewing around her feet, turning his sleek face up to her sleek face, and pretending that he thought it was breakfast-time instead of bedtime."I shan't give you any milk," she said, severely, "you had enough for your supper; go to bed."The cat fled down-stairs, and Mrs. Prymmer gazed across the room at the clock. The sight of her round gray eyes was undimmed. All her bodily faculties were in a good state of preservation, and undeterred by the mournful fact that she had laid two husbands in the grave, she was, perhaps, by no means averse to taking a third one. In the course of time she would probably have another offer, for Rossignol was a marrying-place, and she was somewhat of a belle among elderly widowers, being still good-looking in spite of the artificial and unpleasing compression of her lips, and the two lines up and down the corners of her mouth.She began to wonder just how her son would take the news of another marriage on her part. She was a little afraid of this son, although she loved him better than any one else in the world. He was the only living person admitted into her death-book, and drawing his photograph from between the leaves, she looked at it half lovingly, half apprehensively. It was a not unstriking face that confronted her. He was a curious combination, this boy of hers,,half Englishman, half Yankee. His tall, firmly built figure, his reserve, and his pale face were a legacy from his father, who was of direct English ancestry; his business ability and calculating ways, and his granite-coloured eyes, that so swiftly and unerringly measured his fellow men with respect to their usefulness or uselessness to him, were direct gifts to him through his mother from a generation or two of New England traders.She wondered once more just how he would look and what he would say if some one were to observe suddenly to him, "So I hear your mother is going to be married again."Her plump shoulders quivered nervously, and she looked deeper into his fathomless eyes. Probably he would be annoyed at first, but in time he would calm down, and would go on living with her and a third husband just as he had lived with her and a second one."He never liked Zebedee," she reflected, comfortably, "yet he was always respectful to him. He's a pretty good boy is Justin," and she passed one hand caressingly over the pale, composed face, and wished earnestly that he would come home from the long and mysterious journey that he had undertaken some weeks ago.The house was very quiet now that he was away. A cousin who boarded with her was also absent, and her solitary maid servant, who should have been in bed, was roaming the streets with a sailor lover."Half-past ten," said Mrs. Prymmer, in a voice that boded no good to the loitering maid, "and her hour is ten sharp. There she is,,the witch," as a ring at the bell resounded through the silent house.