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Aunt Jane's Nieces

His head was whirling with amazement, his heart full of indignation.

Girls! Girls at Elmhurst--nieces and guests of the fierce old woman

he so bitterly hated! Then, indeed, his days of peace and quiet were

ended. These dreadful creatures would prowl around everywhere; they

might even penetrate the shrubbery to the foot of the stairs leading

to his own retired room; they would destroy his happiness and drive

him mad.

For this moody, silent youth had been strangely happy in his life

at Elmhurst, despite the neglect of the grim old woman who was its

mistress and the fact that no one aside from Lawyer Watson seemed to

care whether he lived or died.

Perhaps Donald did. Good old Don was friendly and seldom bothered him

by talking. Perhaps old Misery liked him a bit, also. But these were

only servants, and almost as helpless and dependent as himself.

Still, he had been happy. He began to realize it, now that these awful

girls had come to disturb his peace. The thought filled him with grief

and rebellion and resentment; yet there was nothing he could do to

alter the fact that Donald's "young females" were already here, and

prepared, doubtless, to stay.

The sorrel was dashing down the road at a great pace, but the boy

clung firmly to his seat and gloried in the breeze that fanned his hot

cheeks. Away and away he raced until he reached the crossroads, miles

away, and down this he turned and galloped as recklessly as before.

The sun was hot, today, and the sorrel's flanks begun to steam and

show flecks of white upon their glossy surface. He turned again to the

left, entering upon a broad highway that would lead him straight home

at last; but he had almost reached the little village of Elmwood,

which was the railway station, before he realized his cruelty to the

splendid mare he bestrode. Then indeed, he fell to a walk, patting

Nora's neck affectionately and begging her to forgive him for his

thoughtlessness. The mare tossed her head in derision. However she

might sweat and pant, she liked the glorious pace even better than her

rider.

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