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Aunt Jane's Nieces

" he asked.

"No, sir; but mortally hurt, I'm thinkin'. It must have happened while

we were at the funeral."

He opened the door, outside which Susan and Oscar watched with

frightened faces, and led John Merrick into the room.

James lay upon his bed with closed eyes. His shirt, above the breast,

was reeking with blood.

"The doctor should be sent for," said Uncle John.

"He'll be here soon, for one of the stable boys rode to fetch him. But

I thought you ought to know at once, sir."

"Quite right, Donald."

As they stood there the wounded man moved and opened his eyes, looking

from one to the other of them wonderingly. Finally he smiled.

"Ah, it's Donald," he said.

"Yes, old friend," answered the coachman. "And this is Mr. John."

"Mr. John? Mr. John? I don't quite remember you, sir," with a slight

shake of the gray head. "And Donald, lad, you've grown wonderful old,


"It's the years, Jeemes," was the reply. "The years make us all old,

sooner or later."

The gardener seemed puzzled, and examined his companions more

carefully. He did not seem to be suffering any pain. Finally he


"The dreams confuse me," he said, as if to explain something. "I can't

always separate them, the dreams from the real. Have I been sick,


"Yes, lad. You're sick now."

The gardener closed his eyes, and lay silent.

"Do you think he's sane?" whispered Uncle John.

"I do, sir. He's sane for the first time in years."

James looked at them again, and slowly raised his hand to wipe the

damp from his forehead.

"About Master Tom," he said, falteringly. "Master Tom's dead, ain't


"Yes, Jeemes."

"That was real, then, an' no dream. I mind it all, now--the shriek of

the whistle, the crash, and the screams of the dying. Have I told you

about it, Donald?"

"No, lad."

"It all happened before we knew it. I was on one side the car and

Master Tom on the other. My side was on top, when I came to myself,

and Master Tom was buried in the rubbish. God knows how I got him out,

but I did.

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