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

Aunt Jane's Nieces

The far away trees

were there and the near-by rose gardens. There was a cat spitting at

an angry dog, caricatures of old Misery and James, the gardener, and

of Aunt Jane and even Silas Watson himself--all so clearly depicted

that the lawyer suddenly wondered if they were not clever, and an

evidence of genius. But the boy turned to look at him, and the next

moment seized the book from his grasp and sent it flying through

the open window, uttering at the same time a rude exclamation of

impatience.

The lawyer quietly lighted his pipe.

"Why did you do that, Kenneth?" he asked. "The pictures are clever

enough to be preserved. I did not know you have a talent for drawing."

The boy glanced at him, but answered nothing, and the lawyer thought

best not to pursue the subject After smoking a moment in silence he

remarked:

"Your aunt is failing fast." Although no relative, Kenneth had been

accustomed to speak of Jane Merrick as his aunt.

Getting neither word nor look in reply the lawyer presently continued:

"I do not think she will live much longer."

The boy stared from the window and drummed on the sill with his

fingers.

"When she dies," said Mr. Watson, in a musing tone, "there will be a

new mistress at Elmhurst and you will have to move out."

The boy now turned to look at him, enquiringly.

"You are twenty, and you are not ready for college. You would be of no

use in the commercial world. You have not even the capacity to become

a clerk. What will you do, Kenneth? Where will you go?"

The boy shrugged his shoulders.

"When will Aunt Jane die?" he asked.

"I hope she will live many days yet. She may die tomorrow."

"When she does, I'll answer your question." said the boy, roughly.

"When I'm turned out of this place--which is part prison and part

paradise--I'll do something. I don't know what, and I won't bother

about it till the time comes. But I'll do something."

"Could you earn a living?" asked the old lawyer.

"Perhaps not; but I'll get one. Will I be a beggar?"

"I don't know.

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