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Aunt Jane's Nieces

The man

looked after him a moment, and shook his head, sadly.

"Poor boy!" he whispered.

Then he walked up to the front door and rang the bell.

CHAPTER XI.

THE MAD GARDENER.

"This seems to be a lazy place," said Louise, as she stood in the

doorway of Beth's room to bid her good night. "I shall sleep until

late in the morning, for I don't believe Aunt Jane will be on

exhibition before noon."

"At home I always get up at six o'clock," answered Beth.

"Six o'clock! Good gracious! What for?"

"To study my lessons and help get the breakfast."

"Don't you keep a maid?"

"No," said Beth, rather surlily; "we have hard work to keep

ourselves."

"But you must be nearly through with school by this time. I finished

my education ages ago."

"Did you graduate?" asked Beth.

"No; it wasn't worth while," declared Louise, complacently. "I'm sure

I know as much as most girls do, and there are more useful lessons to

be learned from real life than from books."

"Good night," said Beth.

"Good night," answered the older girl, and shut the door behind her.

Beth sat for a time moodily thinking. She did not like the way in

which her cousin assumed superiority over her. The difference in

their ages did not account for the greater worldly wisdom Louise

had acquired, and in much that she said and did Beth recognized a

shrewdness and experience that made her feel humbled and, in a way,

inferior to her cousin. Nor did she trust the friendship Louise

expressed for her.

Somehow, nothing that the girl said seemed to ring true, and Beth

already, in her mind, accused her of treachery and insincerity.

As a matter of fact, however, she failed to understand her cousin.

Louise really loved to be nice to people, and to say nice thing's. It

is true she schemed and intrigued to advance her personal welfare and

position in life; but even her schemes were undertaken lightly and

carelessly, and if they failed the girl would be the first to laugh at

her disappointment and try to mend her fortunes. If others stood in

her way she might not consider them at all; if she pledged her word,

it might not always be profitable to keep it; but she liked to be on

pleasant terms with everyone, and would be amiable to the last, no

matter what happened.

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