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Aunt Jane's Nieces

Nor was he longer rude

and unmannerly to those with whom he came in contact. Awkward he still

was, and lacking in many graces that education and good society can

alone confer; but he was trying hard to be, as he confided to old

Uncle John, "like other people," and succeeded in adapting himself

very well to his new circumstances.

Although he had no teacher, as yet, he had begun to understand color

a little, and succeeded in finishing one or two water-color sketches

which Patsy, who knew nothing at all of such things, pronounced

"wonderfully fine." Of course the boy blushed with pleasure and was

encouraged to still greater effort.

The girl was also responsible for Kenneth's sudden advancement in the

household at Elmhurst.

One day she said calmly to Aunt Jane:

"I've invited Kenneth to dinner this evening."

The woman flew angry in an instant.

"Who gave you such authority?" she demanded.

"No one. I just took it," said Patsy, saucily.

"He shall not come," declared Aunt Jane, sternly. "I'll have no

interference from you, Miss, with my household arrangements. Phibbs,

call Louise!"

Patsy's brow grew dark. Presently Louise appeared.

"Instruct the servants to forbid that boy to enter my dining room this

evening," she said to Louise.

"Also, Louise," said Patsy, "tell them not to lay a plate for me, and

ask Oscar to be ready with the wagon at five o'clock. I'm going home."

Louise hesitated, and looked from Miss Jane to Patsy, and back again.

They were glaring upon each other like two gorgons.

Then she burst into laughter; she could not help it, the sight was too

ridiculous. A moment later Patsy was laughing, too, and then Aunt Jane

allowed a grim smile to cross her features.

"Never mind, Louise," she said, with remarkable cheerfulness; "We'll

compromise matters."

"How?" asked Patsy.

"By putting a plate for Kenneth," said her aunt, cooly. "I imagine I

can stand his society for one evening."

So the matter was arranged to Patricia's satisfaction, and the boy

came to dinner, trembling and unhappy at first, but soon placed at

ease by the encouragements of the three girls.

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