2FY0

2FY0

"And I say it again, Mellicent. I shall never see her suffer, you may be sure,—if I have the money to relieve her. But—" She stopped abruptly at the sound of an excited voice down the hall. Miss Flora, evidently coming in through the kitchen, was hurrying toward them.

"Jane—Mellicent—where are you? Isn't anybody here? Mercy me!" she panted, as she reached the room and sank into a chair. "Did you ever hear anything like it in all your life? You had one, too, didn't you?" she cried, her eyes falling on the letter in her brother's hand. "But 'tain't true, of course!"

Miss Flora wore no head-covering. She wore one glove (wrong side out), and was carrying the other one. Her dress, evidently donned hastily for the street, was unevenly fastened, showing the topmost button without a buttonhole.

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"Mr. Smith says it's true," triumphed Mellicent.

"How does he know? Who told him 'twas true?" demanded Miss Flora.

So almost accusing was the look in her eyes that Mr. Smith actually blinked a little. He grew visibly confused.

"Why—er—ah—the letter speaks for itself Miss Flora," he stammered.

"But it CAN'T be true," reiterated Miss Flora. "The idea of a man I never saw giving me a hundred thousand dollars like that!—and Frank and Jim, too!"

"But he's your cousin—you said he was your cousin," Mr. Smith reminded her. "And you have his picture in your album. You showed it to me."

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"I know it. But, my sakes! I didn't know HE knew I was his cousin. I don't s'pose he's got MY picture in HIS album! But how did he know about us? It's some other Flora Blaisdell, I tell you."

"There, I never thought of that," cried Jane. "It probably is some other Blaisdells. Well, anyhow, if it is, we won't have to pay that inheritance tax. We can save that much."

"Save! Well, what do we lose?" demanded her husband apoplectically.

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At this moment the rattling of the front-door knob and an imperative knocking brought Mrs. Jane to her feet.

"There's Hattie, now, and that door's locked," she cried, hurrying into the hall.

When she returned a moment later Harriet Blaisdell and Bessie were with her.

There was about Mrs. Harriet Blaisdell a new, indescribable air of commanding importance. To Mr. Smith she appeared to have grown inches taller.

"Well, I do hope, Jane, NOW you'll live in a decent place," she was saying, as they entered the room, "and not oblige your friends to climb up over a grocery store."

"Well, I guess you can stand the grocery store a few more days, Hattie," observed Frank Blaisdell dryly. "How long do you s'pose we'd live—any of us—if 'twa'n't for the grocery stores to feed us? Where's Jim?"

"Isn't he here? I told him I was coming here, and to come right over himself at once; that the very first thing we must have was a family conclave, just ourselves, you know, so as to plan what to give out to the public."