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Smith was still thinking of something else.

Miss Maggie asked other questions—Miss Maggie was manifestly interested—and Mr. Smith answered them, but still without enthusiasm. Very soon he said good-night and went to his own room.

For some days after this, Mr. Smith did not appear at all like himself. He seemed abstracted and puzzled. Miss Maggie, who still felt self-conscious and embarrassed over her misconception of his attentions to Mellicent, was more talkative than usual in her nervous attempt to appear perfectly natural. The fact that she often found his eyes fixed thoughtfully upon her, and felt them following her as she moved about the room, did not tend to make her more at ease. At such times she talked faster than ever—usually, if possible, about some member of the Blaisdell family: Miss Maggie had learned that Mr. Smith was always interested in any bit of news about the Blaisdells.

It was on such an occasion that she told him about Miss Flora and the new house.

"I don't know, really, what I am going to do with her," she said. "I wonder if perhaps you could help me."

"Help you?—about Miss Flora?"

"Yes. Can you think of any way to make her contented?"

"CONTENTED! Why, I thought—Don't tell me SHE isn't happy!" There was a curious note of almost despair in Mr. Smith's voice. "Hasn't she a new house, and everything nice to go with it?"

Miss Maggie laughed. Then she sighed.

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"Oh, yes—and that's what's the trouble. They're TOO nice. She feels smothered and oppressed—as if she were visiting somewhere, and not at home. She's actually afraid of her maid. You see, Miss Flora has always lived very simply. She isn't used to maids—and the maid knows it, which, if you ever employed maids, you would know is a terrible state of affairs."

"Oh, but she—she'll get used to that, in time." "Perhaps," conceded Miss Maggie, "but I doubt it. Some women would, but not Miss Flora. She is too inherently simple in her tastes. 'Why, it's as bad as always living in a hotel!' she wailed to me last night. 'You know on my trip I was so afraid always I'd do something that wasn't quite right, before those awful waiters in the dining-rooms, and I was anticipating so much getting home where I could act natural—and here I've got one in my own house!'"

Mr. Smith frowned, but he laughed, too.

"Poor Miss Flora! But why doesn't she dismiss the lady?"

"She doesn't dare to. Besides, there's Hattie. She says Hattie is always telling her what is due her position, and that she must do this and do that. She's being invited out, too, to the Pennocks' and the Bensons'; and they're worse than the maid, she declares. She says she loves to 'run in' and see people, and she loves to go to places and spend the day with her sewing; but that these things where you go and stand up and eat off a jiggly plate, and see everybody, and not really see ANYBODY, are a nuisance and an abomination."

"Well, she's about right there," chuckled Mr. Smith.

"Yes, I think she is," smiled Miss Maggie; "but that isn't telling me how to make her contented."

"Contented! Great Scott!" snapped Mr. Smith, with an irritability that was as sudden as it was apparently causeless. "I didn't suppose you had to tell any woman on this earth how to be contented—with a hundred thousand dollars!"

"It would seem so, wouldn't it?"