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conclusive. Zeena, at any rate, did not apply the principle in her
own case.

He felt all the more sorry for the girl because misfortune had, in a
sense, indentured her to them. Mattie Silver was the daughter of a
cousin of Zenobia Frome’s, who had inflamed his clan with
mingled sentiments of envy and admiration by descending from
the hills to Connecticut, where he had married a Stamford girl and
succeeded to her father’s thriving “drug” business. Unhappily Orin
Silver, a man of far-reaching aims, had died too soon to prove that
the end justifies the means. His accounts revealed merely what the
means had been; and these were such that it was fortunate for his
wife and daughter that his books were examined only after his
impressive funeral. His wife died of the disclosure, and Mattie, at
twenty, was left alone to make her way on the fifty dollars
obtained from the sale of her piano. For this purpose her
equipment, though varied, was inadequate. She could trim a hat,
make molasses candy, recite “Curfew shall not ring to-night,” and
play “The Lost Chord” and a pot-pourri from “Carmen.” When she
tried to extend the field of her activities in the direction of
stenography and book-keeping her health broke down, and six
months on her feet behind the counter of a department store did
not tend to restore it. Her nearest relations had been induced to
place their savings in her father’s hands, and though, after his
death, they ungrudgingly acquitted themselves of the Christian
duty of returning good for evil by giving his daughter all the
advice at their disposal, they could hardly be expected to
supplement it by material aid. But when Zenobia’s doctor
recommended her looking about for some one to help her with the
house-work the clan instantly saw the chance of exacting a
compensation from Mattie. Zenobia, though doubtful of the girl’s
efficiency, was tempted by the freedom to find fault without much
risk of losing her; and so Mattie came to Starkfield.

Zenobia’s fault-finding was of the silent kind, but not the less
penetrating for that. During the first months Ethan alternately
burned with the desire to see Mattie defy her and trembled with
fear of the result. Then the situation grew less strained. The pure
air, and the long summer hours in the open, gave back life and
elasticity to Mattie, and Zeena, with more leisure to devote to her
complex ailments, grew less watchful of the girl’s omissions; so
that Ethan, struggling on under the burden of his barren farm and
failing saw-mill, could at least imagine that peace reigned in his

There was really, even now, no tangible evidence to the contrary;
but since the previous night a vague dread had hung on his sky-
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