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"Yes, I know; but—Poor Maggie! Always just her luck." Mrs. Blaisdell sighed and looked thoughtful. "But Maggie KNOWS a lot about the Blaisdells," she added, brightening; "so she could tell you lots of things—about when they were little, and all that."

"Yes. But—that isn't—er—" Mr. Smith hesitated doubtfully, and Mrs.

Blaisdell jumped into the pause.

"And, really, for that matter, she knows about us NOW, too, better than 'most anybody else. Hattie's always sending for her, and Flora, too, if they're sick, or anything. Poor Maggie! Sometimes I think they actually impose upon her. And she's such a good soul, too! I declare, I never see her but I wish I could do something for her. But, of course, with my means—But, there! Here I am, running on as usual. Frank says I never do know when to stop, when I get started on something; and of course you didn't come here to talk about poor Maggie. Now I'll go back to business. When is it you want to start in—to board, I mean?"

"To-morrow, if I may." With some alacrity Mr. Smith got to his feet. "And now we must be going—Benny and I. I'm at the Holland House. With your permission, then, Mrs. Blaisdell, I'll send up my trunks to-morrow morning. And now good-night—and thank you."

"Why—but, Mr. Smith!" The woman, too, came to her feet, but her face was surprised. "Why, you haven't even seen your room yet! How do you know you'll like it?"

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"Eh? What? Oh!" Mr. Smith laughed. There was a quizzical lift to his eyebrows. "So I haven't, have I? And people usually do, don't they? Well—er—perhaps I will just take a look at—the room, though I'm not worrying any, I assure you. I've no doubt it will be quite right, quite right," he finished, as he followed Mrs. Blaisdell to a door halfway down the narrow hall.

Five minutes later, once more on the street, he was walking home with Benny. It was Benny who broke the long silence that had immediately fallen between them.

"Say, Mr. Smith, I'll bet ye YOU'll never be rich!"

Mr. Smith turned with a visible start.

"Eh? What? I'll never be—What do you mean, boy?"

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Benny giggled cheerfully.

"'Cause you paid Aunt Jane what she asked the very first time. Why, Aunt Jane never expects ter get what she asks, pa says. She sells him groceries in the store, sometimes, when Uncle Frank's away, ye know. Pa says what she asks first is for practice—just ter get her hand in; an' she expects ter get beat down. But you paid it, right off the bat. Didn't ye see how tickled Aunt Jane was, after she'd got over bein' surprised?"

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"Why—er—really, Benny," murmured Mr. Smith.

But Benny had yet more to say.