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Main > Fairy tale > All authors > Frank Baum > Fairy tale "Aunt Jane's Nieces"

Aunt Jane's Nieces

Patricia was a favorite with all who knew her, but the big,

white-moustached Major Doyle, her father, positively worshipped her,

and let the girl rule him as her fancy dictated.

"Now, sir, you're fairly decent again," she said, after a few vigorous

scrubs. "So put on your hat and we'll go out to dinner."

They occupied two small rooms at the top of a respectable but

middle-class tenement building, and had to descend innumerable flights

of bare wooden stairs before they emerged upon a narrow street

thronged with people of all sorts and descriptions except those who

were too far removed from the atmosphere of Duggan street to know that

it existed.

The big major walked stiffly and pompously along, swinging his

silver-trimmed cane in one hand while Patricia clung to his other arm.

The child wore a plain grey cloak, for the evening was chill. She had

a knack of making her own clothes, all of simple material and fashion,

but fitting neatly and giving her an air of quiet refinement that made

more than one passer-by turn to look back at her curiously.

After threading their way for several blocks they turned in at the

open door of an unobtrusive restaurant where many of the round white

tables were occupied by busy and silent patrons.

The proprietor nodded to the major and gave Patricia a smile. There

was no need to seat them, for they found the little table in the

corner where they were accustomed to eat, and sat down.

"Did you get paid tonight?" asked the girl.

"To be sure, my Patsy."

"Then hand over the coin," she commanded.

The major obeyed. She counted it carefully and placed it in her

pocketbook, afterwards passing a half-dollar back to her father.

"Remember, Major, no riotous living! Make that go as far as you can,

and take care not to invite anyone to drink with you."

"Yes, Patsy."

"And now I'll order the dinner."

The waiter was bowing and smiling beside her. Everyone smiled at

Patsy, it seemed.

They gave the usual order, and then, after a moment's hesitation, she

added:

"And a bottle of claret for the Major.

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