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Chronicles of Avonlea Lucy Maud Montgomery

IV. Little Joscelyn

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Joscelyn rose and went to the window. Lifting back the curtain, she stood in the splendour of the moonlight, and sang the grand old hymn. At first Aunty Nan beat time to it feebly on the counterpane; but when Joscelyn came to the verse, "With mercy and with judgment," she folded her hands over her breast and smiled.

When the hymn ended, Joscelyn came over to the bed.

"I am afraid I must say good-bye now, Aunty Nan," she said.

Then she saw that Aunty Nan had fallen asleep. She would not waken her, but she took from her breast the cluster of crimson roses she wore and slipped them gently between the toil-worn fingers.

"Good-bye, dear, sweet mother-heart," she murmured.

Down-stairs she met Mrs. William splendid in rustling black silk, her broad, rubicund face smiling, overflowing with apologies and welcomes, which Joscelyn cut short coldly.

"Thank you, Mrs. Morrison, but I cannot possibly stay longer. No, thank you, I don't care for any refreshments. Jordan is going to take me back to Kensington at once. I came out to see Aunty Nan." "I'm certain she'd be delighted," said Mrs. William effusively. "She's been talking about you for weeks."

"Yes, it has made her very happy," said Joscelyn gravely. "And it has made me happy, too. I love Aunty Nan, Mrs. Morrison, and I owe her much. In all my life I have never met a woman so purely, unselfishly good and noble and true."

"Fancy now," said Mrs. William, rather overcome at hearing this great singer pronounce such an encomium on quiet, timid old Aunty Nan.

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Jordan drove Joscelyn back to Kensington; and up-stairs in her room Aunty Nan slept, with that rapt smile on her face and Joscelyn's red roses in her hands. Thus it was that Mrs. William found her, going in the next morning with her breakfast. The sunlight crept over the pillow, lighting up the sweet old face and silver hair, and stealing downward to the faded red roses on her breast. Smiling and peaceful and happy lay Aunty Nan, for she had fallen on the sleep that knows no earthy wakening, while little Joscelyn sang.

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Chronicles of Avonlea
Lucy Maud Montgomery

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