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Chronicles of Avonlea Lucy Maud Montgomery

IV. Little Joscelyn

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"That's too bad," said Jordan. "Old cat," he muttered after the retreating and serenely unconscious Mrs. William. Then he shambled in and sat down on the sofa beside Aunty Nan.

"There, there, don't cry," he said, patting her thin little shoulder with his big, sunburned paw. "You'll make yourself sick if you go on crying, and we can't get along without you at Gull Point Farm."

Aunty Nan smiled wanly.

"I'm afraid you'll soon have to get on without me, Jordan. I'm not going to be here very long now. No, I'm not, Jordan, I know it. Something tells me so very plainly. But I would be willing to go-- glad to go, for I'm very tired, Jordan--if I could only have heard little Joscelyn sing once more."

"Why are you so set on hearing her?" asked Jordan. "She ain't no kin to you, is she?"

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"No, but dearer to me--dearer to me than many of my own. Maria thinks that is silly, but you wouldn't if you'd known her, Jordan. Even Maria herself wouldn't, if she had known her. It is fifteen years since she came here one summer to board. She was a child of thirteen then, and hadn't any relations except an old uncle who sent her to school in winter and boarded her out in summer, and didn't care a rap about her. The child was just starving for love, Jordan, and she got it here. William and his brothers were just children then, and they hadn't any sister. We all just worshipped her. She was so sweet, Jordan. And pretty, oh my! like a little girl in a picture, with great long curls, all black and purply and fine as spun silk, and big dark eyes, and such pink cheeks--real wild rose cheeks. And sing! My land! But couldn't she sing! Always singing, every hour of the day that voice was ringing round the old place. I used to hold my breath to hear it. She always said that she meant to be a famous singer some day, and I never doubted it a mite. It was born in her. Sunday evening she used to sing hymns for us. Oh, Jordan, it makes my old heart young again to remember it. A sweet child she was, my little Joscelyn! She used to write me for three or four years after she went away, but I haven't heard a word from her for long and long. I daresay she has forgotten me, as Maria says. 'Twouldn't be any wonder. But I haven't forgotten her, and oh, I want to see and hear her terrible much. She is to sing at the Old Timers' concert to-morrow night at Kensington. The folks who are getting the concert up are friends of hers, or, of course, she'd never have come to a little country village. Only sixteen miles away--and I can't go."

Jordan couldn't think of anything to say. He reflected savagely that if he had a horse of his own he would take Aunty Nan to Kensington, Mrs. William or no Mrs. William. Though, to be sure, it WAS a long drive for her; and she was looking very frail this summer.

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Chronicles of Avonlea
Lucy Maud Montgomery

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