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Bessie's Fortune
A Novel

written by "Holmes, Mary Jane, 1825-1907"
...kling in me for the name she called me, 'Old Sour Krout!'" and Miss Betsey smiled grimly as she remembered all, the child upon the terrace had said to her that summer morning three years ago, "She is truthful, at all events," she continued, "and I like that, and wish I had her here. She would be a comfort to me, now that I am old, and the house has no young life in it, except my cats. There's the bedroom at the end of the hall, opening from my room. She could have that, and I should be so happy fitting it up for her. I'd trim it with blue, and have hangings at the bed, and—" Here she stopped, seized with a sudden inspiration, and summoning the housemaid, Flora, to her, she said: "Remove the tea things and bring my writing-desk." Flora obeyed, and her mistress was soon deep in the construction of a letter to Archibald McPherson, to whom she made the proposition that he should bring his daughter Betsey to her, or if he did not care to cross the ocean himself, that he place her under the charge of some reliable person who was coming to America and who would see her safely to Allington, or, that failing, she did not know but she would come herself for the child, so anxious was she to have her. "I shall not try to conceal from you that I have seen her. You know that by the result. I did see her on the terrace, and saw your wife, too, and I liked the child, and want her for my own, to train as I please and to bring up to some useful occupation, so that, if necessary, she can earn her own living. There has been too much false pride in our family on account of birth and blood. The idea that because you are born a gentleman or lady you must not work is absurd. Would it not be more honorable to sweep the streets, or scour knives and pare potatoes, than to sponge one's living out of strangers who despise you in then hearts even when inviting you to their houses? We have men, and women too...

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