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Mary-'Gusta by Joseph Crosby Lincoln
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On this day, however, whenever or wherever the name of Marcellus Hall
was mentioned, after the disposition of Marcellus's own bones had been
discussed and those of his family skeleton disinterred and articulated,
the conversation, in at least eight cases out of ten, resolved itself
into a guessing contest, having as its problem this query:

"What's goin' to become of that child?"

For example:

Mr. Bethuel Sparrow, local newsgatherer for the Ostable Enterprise,
seated before his desk in the editorial sanctum, was writing an obituary
for next week's paper, under the following head:

"A Prominent Citizen Passes Away."

An ordinary man would probably have written "Dies"; but Mr. Sparrow,
being a young and very new reporter for a rural weekly, wrote "Passes
Away" as more elegant and less shocking to the reader.

It is much more soothing and refined to pass away than to die--unless
one happens to be the person most concerned, in which case, perhaps, it
may make little difference.

"The Angel of Death," wrote Mr. Sparrow, "passed through our midst on
Tuesday last and called to his reward Captain Marcellus Hall, one of
Ostable's most well-known and influential residents."

A slight exaggeration here. Marcellus had lived in Ostable but five