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Aunt Jane's Nieces


seemed to his morbid fancy that whatever path he might take, he was

sure of running upon one or more of those detestable girls who were

visiting at Elmhurst. Even in Donald's harness-room he was not secure

from interruption, for little Patsy was frequently perched upon the

bench there, watching with serious eyes old Donald's motions, and

laughing joyously when in his embarrassment he overturned a can of oil

or buckled the wrong straps together.

Worse than all, this trying creature would saddle Nora, the sorrel

mare, and dash away through the lanes like a tom-boy, leaving him

only old Sam to ride--for Donald would allow no one to use the coach

horses. Sam was tall and boney, and had an unpleasant gait, so that

the boy felt he was thoroughly justified in hating the girl who so

frequently interfered with his whims.

Louise was at first quite interested in Kenneth, and resolved to force

him to talk and become more sociable.

She caught him in a little summer-house one morning, from whence,

there being but one entrance, he could not escape, and at once entered

into conversation.

"Ah, you are Kenneth Forbes, I suppose," she began, pleasantly. "I

am very glad to make your acquaintance. I am Louise Merrick, Miss

Merrick's niece, and have come to visit her."

The boy shrank back as fur as possible, staring her full in the face,

but made no reply.

"You needn't be afraid of me," continued Louise. "I'm very fond of

boys, and you must be nearly my own age."

Still no reply.

"I suppose you don't know much of girls and are rather shy," she

persisted. "But I want to be friendly and I hope you'll let me.

There's so much about this interesting old place that you can tell me,

having lived here so many years. Come, I'll sit beside you on this

bench, and we'll have a good talk together."

"Go away!" cried the boy, hoarsely, raising his hands as if to ward

off her approach.

Louise looked surprised and pained.

"Why, we are almost cousins," she said. "Cannot we become friends and


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