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Aunt Jane's Nieces

But Patricia's manner was not at all offensive. Her big eyes were

as frank as her words, but they glistened with kindliness and good

nature, and it was evident the girl had no doubt at all of her aunt's

reply, for she straightway begun to take off her hat.

The invalid had kept her eyes sternly fastened upon her young niece

ever since the beginning of the interview. Now she reached out a hand

and touched her bell.

"Misery," she said to the old housekeeper, "show my niece, Miss

Patricia, to the rose chamber. And see that she is made comfortable."

"Thank you," said Patsy, jumping up to go.

"Make yourself perfectly free of the place," continued Aunt Jane, in

an even tone, turning to Patricia, "and have as good a time as you

can. I'm afraid it's rather stupid here for girls, but that can't be

helped. Stay as long as you please, and go home whenever you like; but

while you are here, if you ever feel like chatting with a harsh

and disagreeable old woman, come to me at any time and you will be

welcome."

Patsy, standing before her, looked down into her worn face with a

pitying expression.

"Ah! I've been cruel to you," she exclaimed, impulsively, "and I

didn't mean to hurt you at all, Aunt Jane. You must forgive me. It's

just my blunt Irish way, you see; but if I hadn't been drawn to you

from the first I wouldn't have said a word--good or bad!"

"Go now," replied Aunt Jane, turning in her chair rather wearily. "But

come to me again whenever you like."

Patsy nodded, and followed the housekeeper to the rose chamber--the

prettiest room old Elmhurst possessed, with broad windows opening

directly upon the finest part of the garden.

Lawyer Watson sat opposite his old friend for some moments in

thoughtful silence. "The child is impossible." he said, at last.

"You think so?" she enquired, moodily.

"Absolutely. Either of the others would make a better Lady of

Elmhurst. Yet I like the little thing, I confess. She quite won my old

heart after I had known her for five minutes. But money would ruin

her. She's a child of the people, and ought not to be raised from her

proper level. Jane, Jane--you're making a grave mistake in all this.

Why don't you do the only right thing in your power, and leave

Elmhurst to Kenneth?

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