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The Spirit Of Cecelia Anne
by [?]

“And all the rest and residue of my estate,” read the lawyer, his voice growing more impressive as he reached this most impressive clause, “I give and bequeath to my beloved granddaughter and godchild Cecelia Anne Hawtry for her own use and benefit forever.”

The black-clothed relations whose faces had been turned toward the front of the long drawing-room now swung round toward the back where a fair-haired little girl, her hands spread guardian-wise round the new black hat on her knees, lay asleep in her father’s arms. For old Mrs. Hawtry’s “beloved granddaughter Cecelia Anne” was not yet too big to find solace in sleep when she was tired and uninterested, being indeed but nine years old and exceedingly small of stature and babyish of habit. So she slept on and missed hearing all the provisions which were meant to protect her in the enjoyment of her estate but which were equally calculated to drive her guardian distracted.

“I leave nothing to my beloved son, James Hawtry,” the document continued, “because I consider that he has quite enough already. And I leave nothing to his son, James Hawtry, Junior, the twin-brother of Cecelia Anne Hawtry, because, though he and I have met but seldom, I have formed the opinion that he is capable of winning his way in the world without any aid from me.”

James Hawtry, Junior, sitting beside the heiress, failed to derive much satisfaction from this clause. If things were being given away, he was not quite certain as to what “rest and residue” might mean, but if things of any kind were being doled out he would fain have enjoyed them with the rest.

Presently the lawyer read the final codicil and gathered his papers together, then addressed the blank and disappointed assemblage with: “As you have seen that all the minor bequests are articles of a household nature–portraits, tableware and the like, ‘portable property’ as my immortal colleague, Mr. Wemmick, would have said–I should suggest the present to be an admirable time for their removal by the fortunate legatees who may not again be in this neighbourhood. And now I have but to congratulate the young lady who has succeeded to this property, a really handsome property I may say, though the amount is not stated nor even yet fully ascertained. If Miss Cecelia Anne Hawtry is present, I should like to pay my respects to her and to wish her all happiness in her new inheritance. I have never had the pleasure of meeting the principal legatee. May I ask her to come forward and accept my congratulations.”

“Take her, Jimmie,” commanded Mr. Hawtry, setting Cecelia down upon her thin little black legs, while he tried to smooth her into presentable shape in anticipation of the anxious cross-examination he was sure to undergo when he returned with the children to his New York home and wife.

“She looked as fit as paint,” he afterward assured that anxious questioner. “I stood the bow out on her hair and pushed her dress down just as I’ve seen you do hundreds of times. Jimmie helped, too, and I declare to you, you’d have been as proud of those two kids as I was when that boy led his little sister through the hostile camp. Funny, he felt the hostility instantly, though of course, he didn’t understand it. But she–well, you know what a confiding little thing she is, and having been asleep made her eyes look even more babyish than they always do–walked beside him, smiling her soft little smile and looking about three inches high in her little black dress.”

“If I had been there,” interrupted Mrs. Hawtry warmly, “I should have murdered your sister Elizabeth before I allowed her to put that baby into mourning. The black bow I packed for her hair would have been quite enough.”

“Well, she had it on. I saw it bobbing up the room while tenth and fifteenth cousins seven or eight times removed, stared at it and at her. But the person most surprised was old Debrett when Jimmie introduced them.”