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Aunt Jane's Nieces

My only desire, child,

is to please you, as you well know, and if you long to see Kenneth the

owner of Elmhurst I will have a new will drawn in his favor."

Patricia could scarcely believe her ears.

"Do you really mean it, aunt?" she asked, flushing red with pleasure.

"I mean exactly what I say, and now let us cease all bickerings, my

dear, and my few remaining days will be peaceful and happy."

Patricia thanked her aunt with eager words, and said, as indeed she

felt, that she could almost love Aunt Jane for her final, if dilatory,

act of justice.

Mr. Watson chanced to enter the room at that moment, and the girl

cried out:

"Tell him, aunt! Let him get the paper ready at once."

"There is no reason for haste," said Aunt Jane, meeting; the lawyer's

questioning gaze with some embarrassment.

Silas Watson was an honorable and upright man, and his client's

frequent doubtful methods had in past years met his severe censure.

Yet he had once promised his dead friend, Tom Bradley, that he would

serve Jane Merrick faithfully. He had striven to do so, bearing with

her faults of character when he found that he could not correct them.

His influence over her had never been very strong, however, and he had

learned that it was the most easy as well as satisfactory method to

bow to her iron will.

Her recent questionings had prepared him for some act of duplicity,

but he had by no means understood her present object, nor did she mean

that he should. So she answered his questioning look by saying:

"I have promised Patricia that you shall draw a new will, leaving

all my estate to Kenneth Forbes, except for the bequests that are

mentioned in the present paper."

The lawyer regarded her with amazement. Then his brow darkened, for he

thought she was playing with the girl, and was not sincere.

"Tell him to draw up the paper right away, aunt!" begged Patricia,

with sparkling eyes.

"As soon as you can, Silas," said the invalid.

"And, aunt, can't you spare a little more to Louise and Beth?

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