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ÏH E MONMAL. 15 THE SILENT SIEGE. The monotonous drizzle on the sloping roof of the rambling, old farm-house made the forlorn occupant of the little room at the east end more disconsolate than ever. All day long the rain had beaten against the clattering panes of the gable window; and now the cheerless dusk crept in and fashioned grotesque spectres on the wall opposite. To the small figure in the high- backed, wooden bed-stead even the familiar ticking of the ancient time-piece on the mantel shelf seemed strange and uncanny. The door at the foot of the stairs opened, and Aunt Matilda’s voice called out through the murky darkness, “Sarey, er you awake?” The grim echoes reverberated in the stillness, but no answer came from above. Matilda Pemberton ascended the flight of narrow, creaking steps and stopped at the landing; for the burden of her own ample person and the additional weight of a generously filled tray had left her gasping for breath. After resting for a moment she pushed back the partly open door and entered, set ting the tray on a table by the bed. “Sarey—I say, er you awake?” A smothered sob issued from the depths of the patch-work quilt. “Now, now, child, don’t be makin’ yerself sick cryin’,” began Aunt Matilda, solicitously patting the small, brown, hand clinched on the covers in a frenzied effort to hold them over a tear-stained face. “Them mumps is pesky, hurting things I know, but cryin’ won’t do no good. Here now, eat a bite of this supper I brung up.” The sobs still continued, and no amount of persuasion could accomplished the desired result. It was evident that the ob durate Sara intended to remain impregnable to all overtures of friendly conversation. After drawing the window blind and turning the lamp flame very low, Aunt Matilda went back to the kitchen. Jeremiah, her husband, sat by the fire, deeply engrossed in a scrutinous perusal of the almanac, and to him she poured forth her store of woes.