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"Oh, she's sixteen. She'll be seventeen next winter. She wants to come out then, but I think I shall wait—a little, she's so very young; though Gussie Pennock's out, and she's only seventeen, and the Pennocks are some of our very best people. They're the richest folks in town, you know."

"And Benny was born—when?"

"He's eight—or rather nine, next Tuesday. Dear me, Mr. Smith, don't you want ANYTHING but dates? They're tiresome things, I think,—make one feel so old, you know, and it shows up how many years you've been married. Don't you think so? But maybe you're a bachelor."

"Yes, I'm a bachelor."

"Are you, indeed? Well, you miss a lot, of course,—home and wife and children. Still, you gain some things. You aren't tied down, and you don't have so much to worry about. Is your mother living, or your father?"

"No. I have no—near relatives." Mr. Smith stirred a little uneasily, and adjusted his book. "Perhaps, now, Mrs. Blaisdell, you can give me your own maiden name."

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"Oh, yes, I can give you that!" She laughed and bridled self-consciously. "But you needn't ask when I was born, for I shan't tell you, if you do. My name was Hattie Snow."

"'Harriet,' I presume." Mr. Smith's pencil was busily at work.

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"Yes—Harriet Snow. And the Snows were just as good as the Blaisdells, if I do say it. There were a lot that wanted me—oh, I was pretty THEN, Mr. Smith." She laughed, and bridled again self-consciously. "But I took Jim. He was handsome then, very—big dark eyes and dark hair, and so dreamy and poetical-looking; and there wasn't a girl that hadn't set her cap for him. And he's been a good husband to me. To be sure, he isn't quite so ambitious as he might be, perhaps. I always did believe in being somebody, and getting somewhere. Don't you? But Jim—he's always for hanging back and saying how much it'll cost. Ten to one he doesn't end up by saying we can't afford it. He's like Jane,—Frank's wife, where you board, you know,—only Jane's worse than Jim ever thought of being. She won't spend even what she's got. If she's got ten dollars, she won't spend but five cents, if she can help it. Now, I believe in taking some comfort as you go along. But Jane—greatest saver I ever did see. Better look out, Mr. Smith, that she doesn't try to save feeding you at all!" she finished merrily.

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"I'm not worrying!" Mr. Smith smiled cheerily, snapped his book shut and got to his feet.

"Oh, won't you wait for Mr. Blaisdell? He can tell you more, I'm sure."

"Not to-day, thank you. At his office, some time, I'll see Mr. Blaisdell," murmured Mr. Smith, with an odd haste. "But I thank you very much, Mrs. Blaisdell," he bowed in farewell.

It was the next afternoon that Mr. Smith inquired his way to the home of Miss Flora Blaisdell. He found it to be a shabby little cottage on a side street. Miss Flora herself answered his knock, peering at him anxiously with her near-sighted eyes.

Mr. Smith lifted his hat.

"Good-afternoon, Miss Blaisdell," he began with a deferential bow. "I am wondering if you could tell me something of your father's family." Miss Flora, plainly pleased, but flustered, stepped back for him to enter.

"Oh, Mr. Smith, come in, come in! I'm sure I'm glad to tell you anything I know," she beamed, ushering him into the unmistakably little-used "front room." "But you really ought to go to Maggie. I can tell you some things, but Maggie's got the Bible. Mother had it, you know, and it's all among her things. And of course we had to let it stay, as long as Father Duff lives. He doesn't want anything touched. Poor Maggie—she tried to get 'em for us; but, mercy! she never tried but once. But I've got some things. I've got pictures of a lot of them, and most of them I know quite a lot about."