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Aunt Jane's Nieces

No one minded James much, for all the inmates of Elhurst were under

severe and exciting strain in the days preceding the funeral.

The girls wept a little, but it was more on account of the solemnity

following the shadow of death than for any great affection they bore

their aunt. Patsy, indeed, tried to deliver a tribute to Aunt Jane's

memory; but it was not an emphatic success.

"I'm sure she had a good heart," said the girl, "and if she had lived

more with her own family and cultivated her friends she would have

been much less hard and selfish. At the last, you know, she was quite


"I hadn't noticed it," remarked Beth.

"Oh, I did. And she made a new will, after that awful one she told us

of, and tried to be just and fair to all"

"I'm glad to hear that" said Louise. "Tell us, Patsy, what does the

will say? You must know all about it."

"Mr. Watson is going to read it, after the funeral," replied the girl,

"and then you will know as much about it as I do. I mustn't tell

secrets, my dear."

So Louise and Beth waited in much nervous excitement for the final

realization of their hopes or fears, and during the drive to the

cemetery there was little conversation in the state carriage.

Kenneth's sensitive nature was greatly affected by the death of the

woman who had played so important a part in the brief story of his

life, and the awe it inspired rendered him gloomy and silent. Lawyer

Watson had once warned him that Miss Merrick's death might make him an

outcast, and he felt the insecurity of his present position.

But Patsy, believing he would soon know of his good fortune, watched

him curiously during the ride, and beamed upon him as frequently as

her own low spirits would permit.

"You know, Ken," she reminded him, "that whatever happens we are

always to remain friends."

"Of course," replied the boy, briefly.

The girl had thrown aside her crutches, by this time, and planned to

return to her work immediately after the funeral.

The brief services at the cemetery being concluded, the little

cavalcade returned to Elmhurst, where luncheon was awaiting them.

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