The Blue North Room (1906)

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onfess our fault, it would never have happened," said Worth gently. "I'm very, very glad that I have found Uncle George and such a loving welcome to his home. But I'm gladder still that I've got my self-respect back. I feel that I can look Worth Gordon in the face again."

"I've learned a wholesome lesson, too," admitted Millicent.

The Blue North RoomToC

"This," said Sara, laying Aunt Josephina's letter down on the kitchen table with such energy that in anybody but Sara it must have been said she threw it down, "this is positively the last straw! I have endured all the rest. I have given up my chance of a musical education, when Aunt Nan offered it, that I might stay home and help Willard pay the mortgage off—if it doesn't pay us off first—and I have, which was much harder, accepted the fact that we can't possibly afford to send Ray to the Valley Academy, even if I wore the same hat and coat for four winters. I did not grumble when Uncle Joel came here to live because he wanted to be 'near his dear nephew's children.' I felt it my Christian duty to look pleasant when we had to give Cousin Caroline a home to save her from the poorhouse. But my endurance and philosophy, and worst of all, my furniture, has reached a limit. I cannot have Aunt Josephina come here to spend the winter, because I have no room to put her in."

"Hello, Sally, what's the matter?" asked Ray, coming in with a book. It would have been hard to catch Ray without a book; he generally took one even to bed with him. Ray had a headful of brains, and Sara thought it was a burning shame that there seemed to be no chance for his going to college. "You look all rumpled up in your conscience, beloved sis," the boy went on, chaffingly.

"My conscience is all right," said Sara severely. "It's worse than that. If you please, here's a letter from Aunt Josephina! She writes that she is very lonesome. Her son has gone to South America, and won't be back until spring, and she wants to come and spend the winter with us."

"Well, why not?" asked Ray serenely. Nothing ever bothered Ray. "The more the merrier."

"Ray Sheldon! Where are we to put her? We have no spare room, as you well know."

"Can't she room with Cousin Caroline?"

"Cousin Caroline's room is too small for two. It's full to overflowing with her belongings now, and Aunt Josephina will bring two trunks at least. Try again, bright boy."

"What's the matter with the blue north room?"

"There is nothing the matter with it—oh, nothing at all! We could put Aunt Josephina there, but where will she sleep? Where will she wash her face? Will it not seem slightly inhospitable to invite her to sit on a bare floor? Have you forgotten that there isn't a stick of furniture in the blue north room and, worse still, that we haven't a spare cent to buy any, not even the cheapest kind?"

"I'll give it up," said Ray. "I might have a try at squaring the circle if you asked me, but the solution of the Aunt Josephina problem is beyond me."

"The solution is simply that we must write to Aunt Josephina, politely but firmly, that we can't have her come, owing to lack of accommodation. You must write the letter, Ray. Make it as polite as you can, but above all make it firm."

"Oh, but Sally, dear," protested Ray, who didn't relish having to write such a letter, "isn't this rather hasty, rather inhospitable? Poor Aunt Josephina must really be rather lonely, and it's only natural she should want to visit her relations."

"We're not her relations," cried Sara. "We're not a speck of relation really. She's only the half-sister of Mother's half-brother. That sounds nice and relationy, doesn't it? And she's fussy and interfering, and she will fight with Cousin Caroline, everybody fights with Cousin Caroline—"

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