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Aunt Jane's Nieces

"It is folly for me to trifle

with these few days of grace yet allowed me, and I have fully made up

my mind as to the disposition of my property."

"Yes?" he said, enquiringly, and drew from his pocket a pencil and

paper.

"I shall leave to my niece Louise five thousand dollars."

"Yes, Jane," jotting down the memorandum.

"And to Elizabeth a like sum."

The lawyer seemed disappointed. He tapped the pencil against his

teeth, musingly, for a moment, and then wrote down the amount.

"Also to my brother, John Merrick, the sum of five thousand dollars,"

she resumed.

"To your brother?"

"Yes. That should be enough to take care of him as long as he lives.

He seems quite simple in his tastes, and he is an old man."

The lawyer wrote it down.

"All my other remaining property, both real and personal, I shall

leave to my niece, Patricia Doyle."

"Jane!"

"Did you hear me?"

"Yes."

"Then do as I bid you, Silas Watson."

He leaned back in his chair and looked at her thoughtfully.

"I am not only your lawyer, Jane; I am also your friend and

counsellor. Do you realize what this bequest means?" he asked, gently.

"It means that Patricia will inherit Elmhurst--and a fortune besides.

Why not, Silas? I liked the child from the first. She's frank and open

and brave, and will do credit to my judgment."

"She is very young and unsophisticated," said the lawyer, "and of all

your nieces she will least appreciate your generosity."

"You are to be my executor, and manage the estate until the girl comes

of age. You will see that she is properly educated and fitted for her

station in life. As for appreciation, or gratitude, I don't care a

snap of my finger for such fol-de-rol."

The lawyer sighed.

"But the boy, Jane? You seem to have forgotten him," he said.

"Drat the boy! I've done enough for him already."

"Wouldn't Tom like you to provide for Kenneth in some way, however

humbly?"

She glared at him angrily.

"How do you know what Tom would like, after all these years?" she

asked, sternly.

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