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"Read it, my lord, please."
"Yes, this time I will. For the sake of the cat:
14,042 SIXTEENTH. STREET,
WASHINGTON, May 2.
It is my painful duty to announce to you that the head of our illustrious house is no more--The Right Honourable, The Most Noble, The Most Puissant Simon Lathers Lord Rossmore having departed this life ("Gone at last --this is unspeakably precious news, my son,") at his seat in the environs of the hamlet of Duffy's Corners in the grand old State of Arkansas, --and his twin brother with him, both being crushed by a log at a smoke-house-raising, owing to carelessness on the part of all present, referable to over-confidence and gaiety induced by overplus of sour-mash--("Extolled be sour-mash, whatever that may be, eh Berkeley?") five days ago, with no scion of our ancient race present to close his eyes and inter him with the honors due his historic name and lofty rank--in fact, he is on the ice yet, him and his brother--friends took a collection for it. But I shall take immediate occasion to have their noble remains shipped to you ("Great heavens!") for interment, with due ceremonies and solemnities, in the family vault or mausoleum of our house. Meantime I shall put up a pair of hatchments on my house-front, and you will of course do the same at your several seats.
I have also to remind you that by this sad disaster I as sole heir, inherit and become seized of all the titles, honors, lands, and goods of our lamented relative, and must of necessity, painful as the duty is, shortly require at the bar of the Lords restitution of these dignities and properties, now illegally enjoyed by your titular lordship.
With assurance of my distinguished consideration and warm cousinly regard, I remain
Your titular lordship's
Most obedient servant,
Mulberry Sellers Earl Rossmore.
"Im-mense! Come, this one's interesting. Why, Berkeley, his breezy impudence is--is--why, it's colossal, it's sublime."
"No, this one doesn't seem to cringe much."
"Cringe--why, he doesn't know the meaning of the word. Hatchments! To commemorate that sniveling tramp and his, fraternal duplicate. And he is going to send me the remains. The late Claimant was a fool, but plainly this new one's a maniac. What a name! Mulberry Sellers--there's music for you, Simon Lathers--Mulberry Sellers--Mulberry Sellers--Simon Lathers. Sounds like machinery working and churning. Simon Lathers, Mulberry Sel--Are you going?"
"If I have your leave, father."
The old gentleman stood musing some time, after his son was gone. This was his thought:
"He is a good boy, and lovable. Let him take his own course--as it would profit nothing to oppose him--make things worse, in fact. My arguments and his aunt's persuasions have failed; let us see what America can do for us. Let us see what equality and hard-times can effect for the mental health of a brain-sick young British lord. Going to renounce his lordship and be a man! Yas!"