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Aunt Jane's Nieces

"And how should I know, either? The money is mine, and

the boy is nothing to me. Let him shift for himself."

"There is a great deal of money, Jane," declared the lawyer,

impressively. "We have been fortunate in our investments, and you have

used but little of your ample income. To spare fifty thousand dollars

to Kenneth, who is Tom's sole remaining relative, would be no hardship

to Patricia. Indeed, she would scarcely miss it."

"You remind me of something, Silas," she said, looking at him with

friendly eyes. "Make a memorandum of twenty thousand dollars to Silas

Watson. You have been very faithful to my interests and have helped

materially to increase my fortune."

"Thank you, Jane."

He wrote down the amount as calmly as he had done the others.

"And the boy?" he asked, persistently.

Aunt Jane sighed wearily, and leaned against her pillows.

"Give the boy two thousand," she said.

"Make it ten, Jane."

"I'll make it five, and not a penny more," she rejoined. "Now leave

me, and prepare the paper at once. I want to sign it today, if

possible."

He bowed gravely, and left the room.

Toward evening the lawyer came again, bringing with him a notary from

the village. Dr. Eliel, who had come to visit Patricia, was also

called into Jane Merrick's room, and after she had carefully read the

paper in their presence the mistress of Elmhurst affixed her signature

to the document which transferred the great estate to the little Irish

girl, and the notary and the doctor solemnly witnessed it and retired.

"Now, Silas," said the old woman, with a sigh of intense relief, "I

can die in peace."

Singularly enough, the signing of the will seemed not to be the end

for Jane Merrick, but the beginning of an era of unusual comfort. On

the following morning she awakened brighter than usual, having passed

a good night, freed from the worries and anxieties that had beset her

for weeks. She felt more like her old self than at any time since the

paralysis had overtaken her, and passed the morning most enjoyably

in her sunshiney garden.

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