492 SHE WAS GOOD FOR NOTHING
1 We had five hundred dollars,' she said ; ' and as there was a house in the street to be bought for two hundred, and it would pay to pull it down and build a new one, it was bought. The builder and carpenter calculated the expense, and the new house was to cost a thousand and twenty. Erich had credit, and borrowed the money in the chief town, but the captain who was to bring it was shipwrecked, and the money was lost with him.
1 Just at that time my dear sweet boy who is sleeping yonder was born. My husband was struck down by a long heavy illness : for three-quarters of a year I was compelled to dress and undress him. We went back more and more, and fell into debt. All that we had was sold, and my husband died, I have worked, and toiled, and striven for the sake of the child, scrubbing staircases, washing linen, fine and coarse alike, but I was not to be better off, such was God's good will. But He will take me to Himself in His own good time, and will not forsake my boy.'
And she fell asleep.
Towards morning she felt much refreshed, and strong enough, as she thought, to go back to her work. She had just stepped again into the cold water, when a trembling and faintness seized her : she clutched at the air with her hand, took a step forward, and fell down. Her head rested on the bank, and her feet were still in the water; her wooden shoes, with a wisp of straw in each, which she had worn, floated down the stream, and thus Martha found her on coming to bring her some coffee.
In the meantime a messenger from the mayor's house had been dispatched to her poor lodging to tell her ' to come to the mayor immediately, for he had something to tell her.' It was too late ! A barber-surgeon was brought to open a vein in her arm; but the poor woman was dead.
' She has drunk herself to death ! ' said the mayor.
In the letter that brought the news of his brother's death, the contents of the will had been mentioned, and it was a legacy of six hundred dollars to the glove-maker's widow, who had once been his mother's maid. The money was to be paid, according to the mayor's discretion, in larger or smaller sums, to her or to her child,
' There was some fuss between my brother and her,'