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Zula by H. Esselstyn Lindley

Miss Elsworth had returned to Roxbury


"Well,"

Mrs. Morris said, "I ain't no coward, but I don't relish the idea of stayin' alone in such a ghostly hollow as this ere."

Miss Elsworth had returned to Roxbury, and there was general rejoicing at the farm house. The entire family of Mr. Graves had grown to love and respect her, and when she went away it was as though a member of the family had left them. She was so bright, so brave, and, above all, so kind to Bessie. Mrs. Morris could not find words to express her delight, and Miss Elsworth was greatly relieved when she ceased speaking of the wonderful loneliness she had experienced while Miss Elsworth was away.

Bessie had heard of her return, and she tried every conceivable plan to gain an interview with her, and not until Miss Elsworth interceded did she accomplish her purpose.

"I'm not afraid of Miss Robin," she said, throwing her arms around Blanche's neck. "She will not hurt me, and I don't believe she is crazy, if they do say she is; and I want her to come to my room and tell me about that place. Won't you come, Miss Robin?"

"Yes," Miss Elsworth said, as she followed her up the broad, easy stairway, covered with its soft, bright carpet. Opening a door near the top of the stairs, Bessie motioned Blanche to enter. It was a pleasant room, well furnished, but the most disorderly place that Blanche had ever seen. Bessie grasped her arm, and

hurrying her to a seat near the bed she sat down close beside her.

"Now, Miss Robin," she said, as she leaned over in Blanche's lap, and clasped her little white hands together, "now you need not look around at things, because you know just how it is when one is packing up; you know they always get things in a mess. You see, I'm going back to boarding school, and I can't keep things in order. Don't you believe it?" she asked, with an angry look.

"Certainly," said Blanche, looking at Bessie, and thinking what a lovely face it must have been before that strange light came to those eyes--eyes of a wonderful blue, fringed with such heavy black lashes.

The long silken hair was floating about Bessie's shoulders, and, lifting one thick lock, Blanche said:

"Your hair is wonderfully beautiful, Bessie."

"There, now, Miss Robin, don't you tell me that. I don't believe a word of it. He used to just go wild over my hair, and for a long time I believed it, but now I know he is a----"

"What?"

"A liar. There, you made me say it, and I didn't mean to. I know it was wicked, but you made me say it. But, now, don't you tell Ross, for if you do, Miss Robin--off goes your head."

Blanche smiled at Bessie's droll remark.

"Oh, you need not laugh. I can take your head off in a minute, because, you see, you are only just a wee little robin, and one little shot would kill you dead."


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