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Jessica, the Heiress   By: (1843-1910)

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Author of "Jessica Trent," "Jessica Trent's Inheritance," etc.

Whitman Publishing Co. Racine, Wisconsin

Copyright, 1904, by The Federal Book Company

Jessica, the Heiress

Printed by Western Printing & Lithographing Co. Racine, Wis.

Printed in U.S.A.


CHAPTER PAGE I Jessica Disappears 11 II The Hush of Anxiety 22 III Old Century Takes the Trail 31 IV Deliverance 41 V Jessica's Story 50 VI Behind Locked Doors 59 VII A Royal Gift 70 VIII The Face at the Window 79 IX The Prisoner Disappears 90 X On the Road Home 99 XI The Passing of Old Century 110 XII The Rebellion of the Lads. 121 XIII Ned's Story 131 XIV Taking the Doctor's Advice 140 XV Ninian's Greeting 150 XVI Jessica Gets Her Wish 161 XVII The Cactus Hedge 170 XVIII What the Sabbath Brought 180 XIX Antonio's Confession 189 XX The Verdict 201 XXI Conclusion 210




Mrs. Benton and Jessica were upon the south porch of the Sobrante ranch house, the former busy as usual, the latter idly enjoying her charming surroundings as she swung to and fro in her hammock.

Mighty vines of pale yellow roses, intermingled with climbing fuchsias, cast shade and sweetness over them; the porch was bordered by a wide swath of calla lilies, also in full flower, while just beyond these a great shrub of poinsettia dazzled the sight with its gleaming blossoms.

When a momentary silence of the other's nimble tongue allowed her to speak, Jessica exclaimed:

"Aunt Sally, you're the only person I know who can do three things at once. You sew as fast as you rock, and talk faster than either. You're a very clever woman."

The old lady answered complacently, as she bit off a fresh needleful of thread and looked at her companion over her spectacles:

"Yes, dearie, I expect I am. I can do more'n that, too. I can keep up a powerful thinking."

"About what, pray?"

"How that life is a patchwork quilt. All the colors of the rainbow, and some that any self respectin' rainbow would scorn to own. Some scraps so amazing homely you hate to put 'em in, but just have to, else there wouldn't be blocks enough to square it out."

"What sort of a scrap am I, Aunt Sally?"

"Huh! Fair to middlin'. Neither very light, nor very dark. You'd be prettier, to my notion, if you'd fetch a needle and thread and sew a seam with me, 'stead of swinging yourself dizzy out of pure laziness."

"Now, Aunt Sally! I call that unkind! I hate to sew."

"I believe you. You'll never put a stitch where a pin will do. But, never mind. If everybody else sets out to spoil you, I don't know as it's my call to interfere."

There was so much tenderness in the glance that accompanied these words that nobody could resent them; least of all the girl, who now sprang from the hammock and curled herself at the other's feet.

"Tell me those powerful thoughts, auntie, dear."

Mrs. Benton sighed, but responded nothing loath:

"There's your mother, Gabriella. Only child, left an orphan, raised by a second cousin once removed, who'd more temper than sense, and when your mother fell in love with your father, who'd more goodness than cash, shut the door on them both forthwith... Continue reading book >>

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