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The Bequest - Ship's Company, Part 6. by W. W. Jacobs
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By W.W. Jacobs


R. Robert Clarkson sat by his fire, smoking thoughtfully. His lifelong
neighbour and successful rival in love had passed away a few days before,
and Mr. Clarkson, fresh from the obsequies, sat musing on the fragility
of man and the inconvenience that sometimes attended his departure.

His meditations were disturbed by a low knocking on the front door, which
opened on to the street. In response to his invitation it opened slowly,
and a small middle-aged man of doleful aspect entered softly and closed
it behind him.

"Evening, Bob," he said, in stricken accents. "I thought I'd just step
round to see how you was bearing up. Fancy pore old Phipps! Why, I'd
a'most as soon it had been me. A'most."

Mr. Clarkson nodded.

"Here to-day and gone to-morrow," continued Mr. Smithson, taking a seat.
"Well, well! So you'll have her at last-pore thing."

"That was his wish," said Mr. Clarkson, in a dull voice.

"And very generous of him too," said Mr. Smithson. "Everybody is saying
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