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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 140 pages of information about The Next of Kin.

“Please don’t, father,” he said, speaking with difficulty; “I am only very happy—­indeed, quite jolly.  But you mustn’t feel sorry, father—­I have been quite a duffer! thanks awfully for all you have done for me—­I know how disappointed you were in me—­I did want to make good for your sakes and it is a bit rough that now—­I should be obliged—­to die....  But it is best to go while the going is good—­isn’t it, sir?  It’s all a beautiful dream—­to me—­and it does seem—­so jolly—­to have you both here.”

He lay still for a long time; then, rousing himself, said, “I’m afraid I have been dreaming again—­no, this is father; you are sure, sir, are you?—­about the medal and all that—­and this is mother, is it?—­it is all quite like going home—­I am so happy; it seems as if permission had come.”

He laughed softly behind his bandages, a queer, little, choking, happy laugh; and there, with his mother’s arms around him, while his father, stern no longer, but tender and loving, held his hand, “permission” came and the homesick, hungry heart of the boy entered into rest.

CHAPTER IX

THE SLACKER—­IN UNIFORM

Mrs. P.A.  Brunton was convinced that she was an exceptional woman in every way.  She would tell you this in the first fifteen minutes of conversation that you had with her, for many of her sentences began, “Now, I know, of course, that I am peculiar in many ways”; or, “I am afraid you will not understand me when I say this”; or, “I am afraid I am hopelessly old-fashioned in this.”  She would explain with painstaking elaboration that she did not know why she was so peculiar, but her manner indicated that she was quite content to be so; indeed, it can only be described as one of boastful resignation.  She seemed to glory in her infirmity.

Mrs. Brunton was quite opposed to women voting, and often spoke with sorrow of the movement, which to her meant the breaking-up of the home and all its sacred traditions.  She did not specify how this would be done, but her attitude toward all new movements was one of keen distrust.  She often said that of course she would be able to vote intelligently, for she had had many advantages and had listened to discussions of public matters all her life, having been brought up in an atmosphere of advanced thinking; but she realized that her case was an exceptional one.  It was not the good fortune of every woman to have had a college course as she had, and she really could not see what good could come from a movement which aimed at making all women equal!  Why, if women ever got the vote, an ignorant washwoman’s vote might kill hers!  It was so much better to let women go on as they were going, exerting their indirect influence; and then it was the woman of wealth and social prestige who was able to exert this influence, just as it should be!  She certainly did not crave a vote, and would do all she could to prevent other women from getting it.

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