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

Aunt Jane's Nieces

DeGraf managed

to defray ordinary expenses and keep Elizabeth at school; but there

were one or two dreadful "notes" that were constantly hanging over

their heads like the sword of Damocles, threatening to ruin them at

any moment their creditors proved obdurate.

Finding her father and mother both occupied, the girl ventured to open

her letter. It was written in a sharp, angular, feminine hand and read

as follows:

"My Dear Niece: It will please me to have you spend the months of July

and August as my guest at Elmhurst. I am in miserable health, and

wish to become better acquainted with you before I die. A check for

necessary expenses is enclosed and I shall expect you to arrive

promptly on the first of July.

"Your Aunt,

"JANE MERRICK."

A low exclamation from Elizabeth caused her father to look in her

direction. He saw the bank check lying beside her plate and the sight

lent an eager thrill to his voice.

"What is it, Beth?"

"A letter from Aunt Jane."

Mrs. De Graf gave a jump and crushed the newspaper into her lap.

"What!" she screamed.

"Aunt Jane has invited me to spend two months at Elmhurst" said

Elizabeth, and passed the letter to her mother, who grabbed it

excitedly.

"How big is the check, Beth?" enquired the Professor, in a low tone.

"A hundred dollars. She says it's for my expenses.

"Huh! Of course you won't go near that dreadful old cat, so we can use

the money to better advantage."

"Adolph!"

The harsh, cutting voice was that of his wife, and the Professor

shrank back in his chair.

"Your sister Jane is a mean, selfish, despicable old female," he

muttered. "You've said so a thousand times yourself, Julia."

"My sister Jane is a very wealthy woman, and she's a Merrick,"

returned the lady, severely. "How dare you--a common De Graf--asperse

her character?"

"The De Grafs are a very good family," he retorted.

"Show me one who is wealthy! Show me one who is famous!"

"I can't," said the Professor. "But they're decent, and they're

generous, which is more than can be said for your tribe.

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