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Aunt Jane's Nieces at Work by Edith Van Dyne

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The little millionaire, although a man of simple and unobtrusive ways,
was a shrewd judge of human nature. Moreover he had acquired a fund of
experience in dealing with all sorts of people, and was delighted to
meet Mr. Hopkins under the present circumstances.

So he drove over to Elmwood and was fortunate to find Mr. Hopkins in his
"office" at home where he was busily engaged instructing his "workers"
in their duties at the polls.

At sight of Mr. Merrick, whom he knew by this time to be a friend of
Kenneth Forbes, staying at Elmhurst, the politician scented some pending
difficulty, or at least an argument, and was sufficiently interested to
dismiss his men without delay.

"Ah, this is Mr. Merrick, I believe," began Mr. Hopkins, suavely. "What
can I do for you, sir?"

"Considerable, if you're disposed," answered the other. "For one thing
I'd like to hire Eliza Parsons away from you."

"Eliza Parsons!" gasped the Representative.

"Yes, your spy. Election's about over and you won't need her any longer,
will you?"

"Sir, do you mean to insult me?" asked the Honorable Erastus,

"By no means. I thought you were through with the girl," said Uncle John
with a chuckle.

Mr. Hopkins was distinctly relieved. With a full recollection of his
wicked schemes in his mind, he had feared some more important attack
than this; so he assumed a virtuous look, and replied:

"Sir, you wrong me. Eliza Parsons was no spy of mine. I was merely
trying to encourage her to a higher spiritual life. She is rather
flighty and irresponsible, sir, and I was sorry for the poor girl. That
is all. If she has been telling tales, they are untrue. I have found
her, I regret to say, inclined at times to be--ah--inventive."

"Perhaps that's so," remarked Uncle John, carelessly. "You're said to be
a good man, Mr. Hopkins; a leetle too honest and straightforward for a
politician; but that's an excusable fault."

"I hope I deserve my reputation, Mr. Merrick," said Erastus,
straightening up at this praise. "I do, indeed, try to live an upright

"I guess so, Mr. Hopkins, I guess so. You wouldn't try, for instance, to
encourage false registration."


"Anything wrong, Mr. Hopkins?" asked Uncle John, innocently.

Erastus looked at his visitor tremblingly, although he tried to control
his nerves. Of course Mr. Merrick couldn't mean anything by this chance
shot, so he must be thrown off the scent.

"You have a disagreeable way of making remarks, sir, and I have no time
to listen to foolish speeches. Tomorrow is election day and I've a good
many details yet to arrange."

"No chance of you're getting in jail, is there?"

"What do you mean by that?"

"I only thought that if you'd done anything liable to make trouble,
you'd have to arrange your affairs for a long spell in jail. Politicians
sometimes make mistakes. But you're such an honest man, Mr. Hopkins, you
couldn't possibly go crooked."

Mr. Hopkins felt shaky again, and looked at his tormentor earnestly,
trying to discern whether there was any real knowledge beneath this
innuendo. But Uncle John met his gaze with a cheerful smile and

"I guess you've got a hard fight ahead of you. My young friend Forbes is
trying to get elected himself, and you can't both win."

"Oh, yes; Forbes," said Erastus, trying to regain his accustomed ease.
"A worthy young man, sir; but I'm afraid his chances are slim."

"Are they, now?" asked Uncle John, pretending a mild interest.

"Pretty thin, Mr. Merrick. Our majority is too great to overcome."

"What do you think your majority will be? About sixty-six?"

Mr. Hopkins gave a start and turned red.

"About sixty-six," he repeated, vacantly, trying to decide if this was
another chance shot.

"Yes; about sixty-six mill hands."

The cat was out of the bag now. Hopkins realized that Merrick had some
knowledge or at least suspicion of this plot. He tried to think what to
do, and it occurred to him that if his visitor positively knew anything
he would not act in this absurd manner, but come straight to the point.
So he ignored the speech, merely saying:

"Anything else, sir?"

"No," replied Uncle John; "I'll go home, I guess. Folks'll be expecting
me. Sorry Forbes hasn't got that sixty-six mill hands; but Doc. Squiers
probably registered 'em all right, and they'll probably vote for

"Wait a moment, sir!" cried Erastus, as Uncle John was turning away.
"That speech demands an explanation, and I mean to have it."

"Oh, you do? Well, I don't object. You may not know it, but Squiers has
registered sixty-six non-voters, and I want to know whether you're
prepared to give half of them to Forbes, or mean to keep them all for

"If Squiers has made false registrations he must stand the consequences.
I want you to understand, sir, that I do not countenance any underhand

"Then it's all off? You won't vote the mill hands?"

"Not a man shall vote who is not properly registered."

"I'm glad to hear it, Mr. Hopkins. Perhaps you can get that twenty-five
hundred back. I don't think Squiers has cashed the check yet."

The Honorable Erastus gave a roar like a wild bull, but Uncle John had
walked quietly out and climbed into his buggy. He looked back, and
seeing Mr. Hopkins's scowling face at the window returned a pleasant
smile as he drove away.

Mr. Watson had just finished his interview with the dentist when Uncle
John picked him up at the corner. The lawyer had accomplished more than
the other two, for he had secured a paper exonerating Lucy Rogers and
another incriminating the Honorable Erastus Hopkins, as well as the
sixty dollars paid by Tom Gates. The dentist was thoroughly frightened,
but determined, now that the conspiracy was defeated, that the man who
had led him to the crime should not escape in case he was himself
arrested. So he made a plain statement of the whole matter and signed
it, and Mr. Watson assured Squiers immunity from arrest, pending good
behavior. The man had already cashed Hopkins's check, and he knew the
Representative could not get the money away from him, so after all the
dentist lost nothing by the exposure.

It was a jolly party that assembled at the dinner-table in Elmhurst that

"You see," explained Uncle John, "the thing looked as big as a balloon
to us at first; but it was only a bubble, after all, and as soon as we
pricked it--it disappeared."



Election day dawned sunny and bright; but there was a chill in the air
that betokened the approach of winter.

Uncle John had suggested serving coffee to the voters at the different
polling places, and Kenneth had therefore arranged for a booth at each
place, where excellent coffee was served free all day long. These booths
were decorated with Forbes banners and attracted a great deal of
comment, as the idea was a distinct innovation in this district.

"You wouldn't catch Hopkins giving anything away," remarked one farmer
to another. "'Rast is too close-fisted."

"Why, as fer that," was the reply, "the thing is done to catch votes.
You know that as well as I do."

"S'pose it is," said the first speaker. "I'd ruther my vote was caught
by a cup of hot coffee on a cold day, than by nothin' at all. If we've
got to bite anyhow, why not take a hook that's baited?"

Patsy and Beth made the rounds of the polling places in an automobile
covered with flags and bunting, and wherever they appeared they were
greeted with cordial cheers.

Mr. Hopkins was noticeable by his absence, and this was due not so much
to his cowardice as to an unfortunate accident.

Neither Squiers nor Hopkins knew just how their secret had leaked out,
for Patsy's presence in the dentist's office had not been disclosed; so
each one suspected the other of culpable foolishness if not downright
rascality. After Uncle John's visit Erastus stormed over to Squiers's
office and found his accomplice boiling with indignation at having been
trapped in a criminal undertaking.

As the two men angrily faced each other they could not think of any
gentle words to say, and Dr. Squiers became so excited by the other's
reproaches that he indulged in careless gestures. One of these gestures
bumped against the Honorable Erastus's right eye with such force that
the eye was badly injured.

The candidate for re-election, therefore, wakened on election morning
with the damaged optic swollen shut and sadly discolored. Realizing that
this unfortunate condition would not win votes, Mr. Hopkins remained at
home all day and nagged his long-suffering spouse, whose tongue was her
only defence.

The Representative had promptly telephoned to Marshall at Fairview
telling him not to vote the men as arranged. He was not especially
charmed with the manager's brief reply:

"Don't be alarmed. We're not _all_ fools!"

"I guess, 'Rast," remarked Mary Hopkins, looking at her damaged and
irritable husband with a blending of curiosity and contempt, "that
you're 'bout at the end of your rope."

"You wait," said Erastus, grimly. "This thing ain't over yet."

The day passed very quietly and without any especial incident. A full
vote was polled, and by sundown the fate of the candidates had been
decided. But the counting seemed to progress slowly and the group
assembled around the telephone in Kenneth's library thought the returns
would never arrive.

The Republican Committee had given Mr. Forbes a table showing what the
vote of each precinct should be, according to their canvass.

The first report was from Elmwood, and showed a gain of seventeen over
the estimate. Patsy was delighted, for she had worked hard in Elmwood,
and this proved that her efforts had been successful. Then came a report
from Longville, in Jefferson County. It showed a gain of forty-three
votes for Hopkins, and a consequent loss for Forbes. This was a
startling surprise, and the next advice from a country precinct in
Washington County showed another gain of twelve for Hopkins.

The little group of workers looked at one another with inquiring eyes,
and Patsy could hardly refrain from crying.

The butler announced dinner, but only Louise and Mr. Watson could eat
anything. The others were too intent on learning their fate and could
not leave the telephone.

It seemed queer that the precincts furthest away should be first to
respond, but so it was. Jefferson County returns began to come in
rapidly, and were received in dismal silence. Hopkins gained four here,
seven there, and twenty-two in another precinct.

"It looks," said Kenneth, quietly, "like a landslide for Hopkins, and I
wonder how our Committee was so badly informed."

"You see," said Uncle John, "voters won't usually tell the truth about
how they've decided to vote. Lots of them tell both sides they're going
to vote their way. And people change their minds at the last minute,
too. You can't do much more than average the thing by means of a

By nine o'clock, complete returns from the part of Jefferson County
included in the Eighth District showed a net gain of one hundred and
eight for Hopkins--a lead that it seemed impossible to overcome.
Washington County was not so bad. Incomplete returns indicated a slight
gain for Hopkins, but not more than a dozen votes altogether.

"Everything now depends upon Dupree and Fairview," announced Kenneth,
"but I can't get any connection with them yet. We won in Elmwood,
anyhow, and Hopkins isn't ahead more than a hundred and sixty as the
thing stands now. Cheer up, girls. A defeat won't hurt us much, for
we've all made a good fight. Better get to bed and sleep, for you're
tired out. We'll know all about everything in the morning."

But they would not move. Disappointment unnerved them more than victory
would have done. They resolved to wait until the last returns were in.

"Telephone, sir," said Tom Gates.

Kenneth picked up the receiver.

"Here's Dupree," he said. "Our majority over Hopkins is two hundred and
eleven. Let's see, that's a gain of seventy-four votes, my dears."

"Hooray!" cried Patsy, delightedly. "I don't care a rap now, what
happens. Old Hopkins won't have much to crow over if--"

"Wait a minute," said Kenneth. "Here's Fairview, at last!"

They held their breaths and watched his face. Kenneth flushed red as he
held the receiver to his ear, and then grew white. He turned around to
the expectant group and Beth knew from the sparkle in his eyes what had

"Fairview's six precincts give us six hundred and forty-one majority,"
announced the boy, in an awed tone. "That's a gain of nearly four

They gazed at him in silent wonder. Then Uncle John rose slowly and took
the boy's hand.

"That means we've won--and won in a walk," said the little man.
"Kenneth, we congratulate you."

Patsy's face was buried in her handkerchief, and Beth's great eyes were
bright with unshed tears. But Louise laughed her soft, musical laugh and

"Why, I knew all the time we would win. We had the better candidate, you

"And the best campaign managers," added Uncle John, with a proud smile.

"That may be true," admitted Beth. "But the thing that really won the
fight was Patsy's sore tooth."



James and Mr. Burke met the great specialist in brain diseases at the
noon train on Wednesday and drove him to Elmhurst.

Dr. Hoyt was a handsome, gray-haired man, with kindly eyes and a
distinguished manner. When he was ushered into the library the young
ladies were attracted by the physician at once, and from the first
glance were inspired by confidence in his powers. Yet Dr. Hoyt spoke
rather doubtfully of the case in hand.

"These cases are not so rare as you might suppose," he said; "yet no two
of them are exactly alike. Usually the recovery is slow and tedious; but
recovery is not always assured. In some instances, however, the memory
is absolutely restored, and from what Mr. Burke has explained to me of
Lucy Rogers's history this is what we may expect now. Or else, we must
trust to time or an accident to awaken her dormant mental faculties. The
case is so interesting that I should like, with your permission, to make
an experiment which can result in no harm if it does not succeed."

"We put the matter entirely in your hands, sir," said Uncle John. "Act
as you think best."

"I thank you," replied Dr. Hoyt, bowing. Then he turned to the girls.
"Which of you young ladies has won the friendship of Lucy Rogers?" he

Louise answered that she and Eliza Parsons had become good friends.

"Will you assist me?" asked the physician.

"Willingly, sir."

"I wish to send the girl into a deep sleep, to render her unconscious
without her suspecting my intention, or realizing the fact. Can you
suggest a way to do this?"

Louise tried to think.

"What means will you employ, sir?" she asked.

"There are many ways to accomplish this. I prefer to administer a
powerful sleeping potion. Have you any confectionery or bon-bons at

"Yes, indeed. I have just received a fresh box of bon-bons from New
York. But I'm not sure I can induce Eliza to eat candy."

"Then let us prepare the potion in various ways. But you must be
careful, Miss Merrick, not to make a mistake and take the dose

Louise laughed.

"I'll be careful, sir," she promised.

The two then retired to perfect their plan, and in an hour every
arrangement was complete.

Louise went to her room, donned a wrapper, and bandaged her head. Then
she summoned Martha and asked the housekeeper to send Eliza Parsons to
sit with her in the darkened room, as she was suffering from a headache.

The maid came at once, to all appearances, as happy and careless as
ever. After expressing her sympathy she asked what she could do.

"Just sit down and keep me company, dear," replied Louise. "I'm not very
bad, but I'm restless and can't sleep, and I want you to talk to me and
amuse me."

Eliza laughed.

"That is easy, as far as talking is concerned," she said. "But to amuse
you, Miss Louise, may be more difficult."

But the girls found a topic of conversation in the election, in which
Eliza was much interested, and they chatted together for an hour or so
before Louise made any move to consummate her plot.

"I hope my foolish reports to Mr. Hopkins did no harm to Mr. Forbes,"
Eliza was saying. "I really had little to tell him of your conversation
or movements."

"You did no harm at all, for Mr. Forbes was elected," replied Louise.
Then she said, carelessly:

"Martha has sent me this pitcher of lemonade, and I don't care for it.
Won't you drink a glass, Eliza?"

"No, thank you," she replied, shaking her head. "I never drink

"Then have one of these sandwiches?"

"I'm not hungry, Miss Louise."

Louise sighed. Both the lemonade and the sandwiches had been "dosed" by
Dr. Hoyt. Then she picked up the box of bon-bons that was beside her.

"But you will eat some candy, dear. Every girl likes candy."

"I don't seem to care for it," said Eliza carelessly.

"Just one piece, to please me," coaxed Louise, and selected a piece from
the box with dainty care. "Here, my dear; you'll find this sort very

Eliza hesitated, but finally reached out her hand and took the bon-bon.
Louise lay back in her chair and closed her eyes, fearing their
eagerness might betray her. When after a time she opened them again
Eliza was slowly rocking back and forth and chewing the confection.

Dr. Hoyt's first suggestion had been best. The potion had been prepared
in several ways to tempt Eliza, but the candy had been the effectual

Louise felt a glow of triumph, but managed to continue the conversation,
relating in an amusing way the anxiety of the Elmhurst folks when the
first returns seemed to indicate the election of Hopkins.

Eliza laughed once or twice, her head resting upon the back of her
chair. Then the words of Louise began to sound dreamy and indistinct in
her ears. The chair rocked with less regularity; soon it came to a stop,
and Eliza was peacefully sleeping in its ample depths.

Louise now rose softly and rang her bell. Footsteps approached, and a
knock came upon the door. She admitted Dr. Hoyt, Mr. Burke, and two

The physician approached the sleeping girl and gently lifted the lids of
her eyes. Then he nodded with satisfaction.

"There was no suspicion on her part? She made no struggle--no attempt to
evade unconsciousness?" he asked.

"None at all, sir," replied Louise. "She ate the bon-bon, and was asleep
before she realized it."

"Excellent!" said the doctor. "We will now place her in her own room,
upon her bed, while Mr. Burke and I drive over to her former home to
complete our arrangements."

"Won't she waken?" asked Louise.

"Not until tomorrow morning, and when she does I hope for a complete
restoration of her memory."

Beth went with Dr. Hoyt to the Rogers farm, because she knew Mrs.
Rogers. It was necessary to break the news to the poor, blind woman
gently, but Beth's natural tact stood her in good stead. She related the
story of the search for Lucy, the discovery that one of the maids at
Elmhurst resembled the missing girl, and the detective's conclusion that
Eliza Parsons was none other than Lucy Rogers, who was suffering from a
peculiar mental aberration and had forgotten every detail of her former

Mrs. Rogers followed the tale with intelligent understanding, and her
joy at the discovery of her wandering child was only tempered by the
fear that Lucy would never know her mother again or be content to remain
in her humble home.

Then Dr. Hoyt took up the conversation and related the many instances of
complete recovery that had come under his observation.

"I am adopting heroic methods in this case," said he, "but I have
reasonable hopes of their success. Your child doubtless became mentally
confused while under this roof. How many hours she wandered, we do not
know, but it could not have been long before she lay down by the
roadside and fell asleep. When she awakened her mind was a blank as
regards her identity and former history. Now, in order to effect a
recovery, I have reversed these experiences with her. She is at present
plunged into a deep sleep, under the influence of narcotics that have
rendered her brain absolutely inactive. It is really a state of coma,
and I wish her to waken in this house, amid the scenes with which she
was formerly familiar. By this means I hope to induce her mental
faculties to resume their normal functions."

Mrs. Rogers accepted this proposal with calmness and a confidence in the
physician that was admirable. Old Will trembled with nervous excitement,
and was so "flustered" by the importance of the experiment that Dr. Hoyt
decided to give him a quieting potion.

Lucy's room was prepared in the exact manner in which she had left it,
and presently the visitors drove back to Elmhurst.

In the evening the doctor made the journey a second time, accompanying
the unconscious form of Lucy, which was attended by a maid Louise had
sent with her.

The girl was undressed and put to bed in her own room, and then everyone
except Dr. Hoyt returned to Elmhurst.

The physician sat late in conversation with the blind woman and old
Will, and when they retired for the night he lay down upon a lounge in
the little living-room. The question of fees or of comfort was wholly
ignored by the specialist at the moment. His sole interest was in his
remarkable case.

Mrs. Rogers rose at daylight and with old Will's assistance prepared the
breakfast. The little table was set in the humble living-room, and the
fragrant odor of coffee pervaded the house. Dr. Hoyt drank a cup and
then stepped out upon the little porch, taking a position of observation
by the window.

"All right, Nell," muttered old Will, his knees knocking together, in
spite of himself.

Mrs. Rogers rose quietly and walked to the foot of the stairs.

"Lucy! Lucy!" she called.

"Yes!" came a faint reply.

"Breakfast is ready!"

Then the two old people sat in suppressed excitement for what seemed to
them an age. But the physician, calmly stationed at the window, knew it
was not very long.

Presently a light step sounded upon the stairs and Lucy came into the

"Good morning, mother dear!" she said, a new, sweet tenderness in her
voice. And then she knelt and kissed the woman upon her brow.

The doctor looked at his watch.

"I must be going," he muttered, turning away. "There's time for me to
catch the early train."


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