K (Chapter 2, page 1 of 9)


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Chapter 2

Sidney could not remember when her Aunt Harriet had not sat at the table.
It was one of her earliest disillusionments to learn that Aunt Harriet
lived with them, not because she wished to, but because Sidney's father had
borrowed her small patrimony and she was "boarding it out." Eighteen years
she had "boarded it out." Sidney had been born and grown to girlhood; the
dreamer father had gone to his grave, with valuable patents lost for lack
of money to renew them--gone with his faith in himself destroyed, but with
his faith in the world undiminished: for he left his wife and daughter
without a dollar of life insurance.

Harriet Kennedy had voiced her own view of the matter, the after the
funeral, to one of the neighbors:-"He left no insurance. Why should he bother? He left me."

To the little widow, her sister, she had been no less bitter, and more
explicit.

"It looks to me, Anna," she said, "as if by borrowing everything I had
George had bought me, body and soul, for the rest of my natural life. I'll
stay now until Sidney is able to take hold. Then I'm going to live my own
life. It will be a little late, but the Kennedys live a long time."

The day of Harriet's leaving had seemed far away to Anna Page. Sidney was
still her baby, a pretty, rather leggy girl, in her first year at the High
School, prone to saunter home with three or four knickerbockered boys in
her train, reading "The Duchess" stealthily, and begging for longer
dresses. She had given up her dolls, but she still made clothes for them
out of scraps from Harriet's sewing-room. In the parlance of the Street,
Harriet "sewed"--and sewed well.

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