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

Aunt Jane's Nieces


be cunning, to be diplomatic, to play the game of life with the best

cards we can draw, is every woman's privilege. But if I can't win

honestly, mater dear, I'll quit the game, for even money can't

compensate a girl for the loss of her self-respect."

Mrs. Merrick cast a fleeting glance at her daughter and smiled.

Perhaps the heroics of Louise did not greatly impress her.



"Lift me up, Phibbs--no, not that way! Confound your awkwardness--do

you want to break my back? There! That's better. Now the pillow at my

head. Oh--h. What are you blinking at, you old owl?"

"Are you better this morning, Miss Jane?" asked the attendant, with

grave deference.

"No; I'm worse."

"You look brighter, Miss Jane."

"Don't be stupid, Martha Phibbs. I know how I am, better than any

doctor, and I tell you I'm on my last legs."

"Anything unusual, Miss?"

"Of course. I can't be on my last legs regularly, can I?"

"I hope not, Miss."

"What do you mean by that? Are you trying to insult me, now that I'm

weak and helpless? Answer me, you gibbering idiot!"

"I'm sure you'll feel better soon, Miss. Can't I wheel you into the

garden? It's a beautiful day, and quite sunny and warm already."

"Be quick about it, then; and don't tire me out with your eternal

doddering. When a thing has to be done, do it. That's my motto."

"Yes, Miss Jane."

Slowly and with care the old attendant wheeled her mistress's invalid

chair through the doorway of the room, along a stately passage,

and out upon a broad piazza at the back of the mansion. Here were

extensive and carefully tended gardens, and the balmy morning air was

redolent with the odor of flowers.

Jane Merrick sniffed the fragrance with evident enjoyment, and her

sharp grey eyes sparkled as she allowed them to roam over the gorgeous

expanse of colors spread out before her.

"I'll go down, I guess, Phibbs. This may be my last day on earth,

and I'll spend an hour with my flowers before I bid them good-bye


Phibbs pulled a bell-cord, and a soft faraway jingle was heard.

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