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"Yes—oil paintings."

"Certainly not." Her chin came up a little. "I'm going to have anything old in my house—where it can be seen—For once I'm going to have NEW things—all new things. You have to make a show or you won't be recognized by the best people."

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"But, Hattie, my dear," began Miss Maggie, flushing a little, and carefully avoiding Mr. Smith's eyes, "old masters are—are very valuable, and—"

"I don't care if they are," retorted Mrs. Hattie, with decision. "If they're old, I don't want them, and that settles it. I'm going to have velvet carpets and the handsomest lace curtains that I can find; and I'm going to have some of those gold chairs, like the Pennocks have, only nicer. Theirs are awfully dull, some of them. And I'm going to buy—"

"Humph! Pity you can't buy a little common sense—somewhere!" snarled old man Duff, getting stiffly to his feet. "You'll need it, to swing all that style."

"Oh, father!" murmured Miss Maggie.

"Oh, I don't mind what Father Duff says," laughed Mrs. Hattie. But there was a haughty tilt to her chin and an angry sparkle in her eyes as she, too, arose. "I'm just going, anyway, so you don't need to disturb yourself, Father Duff."

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But Father Duff, with another "Humph!" and a muttered something about having all he wanted already of "silly chatter," stamped out into the kitchen, with the usual emphasis of his cane at every other step.

It was just as well, perhaps, that he went, for Mrs. Hattie Blaisdell had been gone barely five minutes when her sister-in-law, Mrs. Jane, came in.

"I've come to see you about a very important matter, Maggie," she announced, as she threw off her furs—not new ones—and unbuttoned her coat—which also was not new.

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"Then certainly I will take myself out of the way," said Mr. Smith, with a smile, making a move to go.

"No, please don't." Mrs. Jane held up a detaining hand. "Part of it concerns you, and I'm glad you're here, anyway. I should like your advice."

"Concerns me?" puzzled the man.

"Yes. I'm afraid I shall have to give up boarding you, and one thing I came to-day for was to ask Maggie if she'd take you. I wanted to give poor Maggie the first chance at you, of course."

"CHANCE at me!" Mr. Smith laughed,—but unmistakably he blushed. "The first—But, my dear woman, it is just possible that Miss Maggie may wish to—er—decline this great honor which is being conferred upon her, and she may hesitate, for the sake of my feelings, to do it before me. NOW I'm very sure I ought to have left at once."