to tell me that I am a stranger at Bragton. I have lived here many more years than you.'
'A stranger to him, I meant. And now that he is ill-----' 'I shall stay with him--till he desires me to go away. He asked me to stay and that is quite enough.' Then she got up and left the room with more dignity,--as also she had spoken with more earnestness,--than Mrs. Morton had given her credit for possessing. After that the two ladies did not meet again till the next day.
THE TWO OLD LADIES
ON the next morning Mrs. Morton did not come down to breakfast, but sat alone upstairs nursing her wrath. During the night she had made up her mind to one or two things. She would never enter her grandson's chambers when Lady Ushant was there. She would not speak to Reginald Morton, and should he come into her presence while she was at Bragton she would leave the room. She would do her best to make the house, in common parlance, 'too hot' to hold that other woman. And she would make use of those words which John had spoken concerning Chowton Farm as a peg on which she might hang her discourse in reference to his will. If in doing all this she should receive that dutiful assistance which she thought that he owed her,--then she should stand by his bedside, and be tender to him, and nurse him to the last as a mother would nurse a child. But if, as she feared, he were headstrong in disobeying, then she would remember that her duty to her family, if done with a firm purpose, would have lasting results, while his life might probably be an affair of a few weeks,--or even days.
At about eleven Lady Ushant was with her patient when a message was brought by Mrs. Hopkins. Mrs. Morton wished to see her grandson and desired to know whether it would suit him that she should come now. 'Why not?' said the sick man, who was sitting up in his bed. Then Lady Ushant collected her knitting and was