Cousin Maude (Chapter 7, page 1 of 9)


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Chapter 7

Four years and a half have passed away since the dark November night
when Matty Kennedy died, and in her home all things are not as they
were then. Janet, the presiding genius of the household, is gone--
married a second time, and by this means escaped, as she verily
believes, the embarrassment of refusing outright to be Mrs. Dr.
Kennedy, No. 3! Not that Dr. Kennedy ever entertained the slightest
idea of making her his wife, but knowing how highly he valued money,
and being herself "a woman of property," Janet came at last to fancy
that he had serious thoughts of offering himself to her.

He, on the contrary, was only intent upon the best means of removing her from
his house, for, though he was not insensible to the comfort which
her presence brought, it was a comfort for which he paid too dearly.
Still he endured it for nearly three years, but at the end of that
time he determined that she should go away, and as he dreaded a
scene he did not tell her plainly what he meant, but hinted, and
with each hint the widow groaned afresh over her lamented Joel.

At last, emboldened by some fresh extravagance, he said to her one
day: "Mrs. Blodgett, ah--ahem." Here he stopped, while Mrs.
Blodgett, thinking her time had come, drew out Joel's picture, which
latterly she carried in her pocket, so as to be ready for any
emergency. "Mrs. Blodgett, are you paying attention?" asked the
doctor, observing how intently she was regarding the picture of the
deceased.

"Yes, yes," she answered, and he continued: "Mrs. Blodgett, I hardly know what to say, but I've been thinking
for some time past--"

"I know you've been thinking," interrupted the widow, "but it won't
do an atom of good, for my mind was made up long ago, and I shan't
do it, and if you've any kind of feeling for Matty, which you haint,
nor never had, you wouldn't think of such a thing, and I know, as
well as I want to know, that it's my property, and nothin' else,
which has put such an idee into your head!"

Here, overcome with her burst of indignation, she began to cry,
while the doctor, wholly misunderstanding her, attempted to smooth
the matter somewhat by saying: "I had no intention of distressing
you, Mrs. Blodgett, but I thought I might as well free my mind. Were
you a poor woman, I should feel differently, but knowing you have
money--"

"Wretch!" fairly screamed the insulted Janet. "So you confess my
property is at the bottom of it! But I'll fix it--I'll put an end to
it!" and in a state of great excitement she rushed from the room.

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