Thursday, January 5, 2012

Mr Rogers of Penkridge - 11 September 1872 – Inherits a fortune

At the pleasant village of Penkridge, near Stafford, a retired baker Rogers by name has for some few years past lived on a small competency. Mr Rogers is a widower, but without family, and during his years of Wedded life he was the kindest of husbands.

Soon after the death of his wife, Mr Rogers by some means made the acquaintance of a maiden lady possessed of fabulous wealth, but of miserly disposition, residing in Cumberland. Four years ago this lady, taking advantage of leap year, intimated to Mr Rogers, in terms not to be mistaken, her willingness to bestow upon him her hand, heart, and heritage.

Mr Rogers politely, but firmly, declined the proposal, and heard nothing more of his amorous admirer until about six months ago when a letter, written by her hand, summoned him to the side of what she feared, and what subsequently proved to be, her death-bed. Even to this appeal Mr Rogers was obdurate, contenting himself by writing a stiff formal note of condolence. A week or two afterwards the old lady died, bequeathing to Mr Rogers a fortune variously estimated at £4OOO to £6OOO per annum. The lady was not connected by relationship with Mr Rogers, and the latter had, if anything, an aversion to her.

Her affection seems, however, to have been sincere, for, although she had nephews and nieces who diligently courted her favour, Mr Rogers comes in for the bulk of her property, and the will is witnessed by a lawyer and two medical gentlemen of eminence, a precaution taken, no doubt, lest interested persons should contest the validity of the document by raising the plea of insanity.

Mr Rogers is a gentleman of unassuming and almost retiring manners and it is said that he is considerably perplexed, and even troubled, by the news of his good fortune. A large estate in Cumberland, an mansion in Belgravia, picture galleries, horses, broughams, and a suit of servants, must be a great change, all the greater because of its suddenness, to one who has hitherto lived an obscure life of happy contentment in a little cottage on the banks of the Penk.

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