Jersey Journal/1930/The Queer Sandlewood Box

The Queer Sandlewood Box  (1930) 

The short story, The Queer Sandlewood Box, by Naida Muriel Freudenberg (1915-1998) published in The Jersey Journal on January 4, 1930.

The Queer Sandlewood Box
By Naida Freudenberg, Age 14,
9 Claremont Avenue, Jersey City, New Jersey.

In the Quinn home a hushed silence shadowed the entire household. For Mr. Quinn had died leaving a wife and an only child, a girl of eleven years old, Mary Ellen. These two had been inseparable for the past two days and were now holding a conversation in the living room. Mary Allen broke the silence. "Mother will you have to go to work?" she asked in a strained voice. "No, dear! whoever put that idea into my girl's head?" she asked in a sweet voice. "That horrid, old Mrs. Delan was talking to the woman next door and I heard her say, "The poor woman will have to go to work." Mother can it be true?" "Of course dear, it's not true; your father paid his debts up to the last. He certainly must have left us some money to carry on. I know he did." "You knew he did, oh mother I'm going over and tell Mrs. Delan what you said." "Not now dear, not now. wait awhile, will you please?" This ended the interview, and the mother and daughter made their way to the library, where the family lawyer and relatives were gathered to hear the reading of the last will. The lawyer said, in a tone filled with dignity. "Mr. Quinn made this will while I, myself verified it. I demand silence while the reading is being done. The will concerns everyone in the room." A thrill ran through every person there, even Mrs. Quinn ventured a timid smile, "my husband is surely reaping his revenge." she thought as she thought of what was to happen. Then Mr. Reiss, the lawyer read: "I, James Quinn, wish to have my relatives, each one from the most important to the least, share an equal part in my property and money. As my relatives, my outside ones, I refer to. have been so considerate to me. I want them to have a happy life hereafter." The relatives blushed in shame as the lawyer's voice died away, because they recognized a sarcastic way in which the note was written. "Judging from the amount of people I should surmise each one to get a thousand dollars." "But. Mr. Reiss. husband." here Mrs. Quinn broke down, then resumed. "my husband may have made another will before he died." "That may be possible, Mrs. Quinn, but this bears every evidence of being the last will." Then "Wait a minute." he said. as he turned the paper back and forth in nervousness. "I see some writing, this may lead somewhere." After he finished he flushed uncomfortably as he realized the task he had to do. But one of the relatives grabbed the paper from Mr. Reiss and began reading: "Dear Reiss old fellow: Sorry that I played such a trick on my relatives but it had to be done. They would not come when my wife told them I was ill, but when I wrote and told them I was leaving money they sent areplay, "coming.: Sorry to disappoint them. (Signed), James Quinn. The relatives began shouting, "proof, proof," and finally Mrs. Quinn turned to Mary and said something. The child left the room and then returned bearing a small sandalwood box. Mr. Reiss took it and lifted the lid. "This isn't the time for looking Mrs. Quinn." he said and handed the box back to her. She touched a painted flower on the cover and a small drawer slid out. She again handed it to him. Two pieces of paper lay inside and he picked the top one and it said "The will is legal, I made it in the presence of a bank official." (Signed), James Quinn. "I do not think it necessary to read the will" the lawyer said as the people slowly left the room. So the curtain closes on two happy persons, happy not because they had money, but because they realized that the father and husband had understood their great love for him.

The Queer Sandlewood Box by Naida Muriel Freudenberg (1915-1998) in the Jersey Journal on January 4, 1930.png

This work is in the public domain in the United States because it was legally published within the United States (or the United Nations Headquarters in New York subject to Section 7 of the United States Headquarters Agreement) before 1964, and copyright was not renewed.