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

Aunt Jane's Nieces

"Sir," said he, "give an account of yourself."

"Eh?"

"John Merrick, millionaire and impostor, who came into my family under

false pretenses and won our love and friendship when we didn't know

it, give an account of yourself!"

Patsy laughed.

"What are you up to, Daddy?" she demanded. "What has Uncle John been

doing?"

"Deceiving us, my dear."

"Nonsense," said Uncle John, lighting his old briar pipe, "you've been

deceiving yourselves."

"Didn't you convey the impression that you were poor?" demanded the

Major, sternly.

"No."

"Didn't you let Patsy take away your thirty-two dollars and forty-two

cents, thinking it was all you had?"

"Yes."

"Aren't you worth millions and millions of dollars--so many that you

can't count them yourself?"

"Perhaps."

"Then, sir," concluded the Major, mopping the perspiration from his

forehead and sitting down limply in his chair, "what do you mean by

it?"

Patsy stood pale and trembling, her round eyes fixed upon her uncle's

composed face.

"Uncle John!" she faltered.

"Yes, my dear."

"Is it all true? Are you so very rich?"

"Yes, my dear."

"And it's you that gave me this house, and--and everything else--and

got the Major his fine job, and me discharged, and--and--"

"Of course, Patsy. Why not?"

"Oh, Uncle John!"

She threw herself into his arms, sobbing happily as he clasped her

little form to his bosom. And the Major coughed and blew his nose, and

muttered unintelligible words into his handkerchief. Then Patsy sprang

up and rushed upon her father, crying;

"Oh, Daddy! Aren't you glad it's Uncle John?"

"I have still to hear his explanation," said the Major.

Uncle John beamed upon them. Perhaps he had never been so happy before

in all his life.

"I'm willing to explain," he said, lighting his pipe again and

settling himself in his chair. "But my story is a simple one, dear

friends, and not nearly so wonderful as you may imagine. My father had

a big family that kept him poor, and I was a tinsmith with little work

to be had in the village where we lived.

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