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Aunt Jane's Nieces

Why, it was this very fact that made the boy

odious to her. The woman grew white with rage.

"John Merrick, leave my presence."

"All right, Jane."

He stopped to light his pipe, and then slowly walked away, leaving an

embarrassed group behind him.

Patsy, however, was equal to the occasion. She began at once to

chatter about Dr. Eliel, and the scar that would always show on her

forehead; and how surprised the Major, her father, would be when he

returned from the visit to his colonel and found his daughter had been

through the wars herself, and bore the evidence of honorable wounds.

Louise gracefully assisted her cousin to draw Aunt Jane into a more

genial mood, and between them they presently succeeded. The interview

that had begun so unfortunately ended quite pleasantly, and when

Patricia returned to her room her aunt bade her adieu almost tenderly.

"In fact," said Louise to Beth, in the privacy of the latter's

chamber, "I'm getting rather worried over Aunt Jane's evident weakness

for our Cousin Patsy. Once or twice today I caught a look in her eye

when she looked at Patsy that she has never given either you or me.

The Irish girl may get the money yet."

"Nonsense," said Beth. "She has said she wouldn't accept a penny of

it, and I'm positive she'll keep her word."



"Silas," said Aunt Jane to her lawyer, the next morning after her

interview with Patsy, "I'm ready to have you draw up my will."

Mr. Watson gave a start of astonishment. In his own mind he had

arrived at the conclusion that the will would never be executed, and

to have Miss Merrick thus suddenly declare her decision was enough to

startle even the lawyer's natural reserve.

"Very well, Jane," he said, briefly.

They were alone in the invalid's morning room, Phibbs having been

asked to retire.

"There is no use disguising the fact, Silas, that I grow weaker every

day, and the numbness is creeping nearer and nearer to my heart," said

Miss Merrick, in her usual even tones.

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