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

Aunt Jane's Nieces

It depends on whether Aunt Jane leaves you anything in

her will."

"I hope she won't leave me a cent!" cried the boy, with sudden

fierceness. "I hate her, and will be glad when she is dead and out of

my way!"

"Kenneth--Kenneth, lad!"

"I hate her!" he persisted, with blazing eyes. "She has insulted me,

scorned me, humiliated me every moment since I have known her. I'll be

glad to have her die, and I don't want a cent of her miserable money."

"Money," remarked the old man, knocking the ashes from his pipe, "is

very necessary to one who is incompetent to earn his salt. And the

money she leaves you--if she really does leave you any--won't be

her's, remember, but your Uncle Tom's."

"Uncle Tom was good to my father," said the boy, softening.

"Well, Uncle Tom gave his money to Aunt Jane, whom he had expected

to marry; but he asked her to care for his relatives, and she'll

doubtless give you enough to live on. But the place will go to some

one else, and that means you must move on."

"Who will have Elmhurst?" asked the boy.

"One of your aunt's nieces, probably. She has three, it seems, all of

them young girls, and she has invited them to come here to visit her."

"Girls! Girls at Elmhurst?" cried the boy, shrinking back with a look

of terror in his eyes.

"To be sure. One of the nieces, it seems, refuses to come; but there

will be two of them to scramble for your aunt's affection."

"She has none," declared the boy.

"Or her money, which is the same thing. The one she likes the best

will get the estate."

Kenneth smiled, and with the change of expression his face lighted

wonderfully.

"Poor Aunt!" he said. "Almost I am tempted to be sorry for her. Two

girls--fighting one against the other for Elmhurst--and both fawning

before a cruel and malicious old woman who could never love anyone but

herself."

"And her flowers," suggested the lawyer.

"Oh, yes; and perhaps James. Tell me, why should she love James, who

is a mere gardener, and hate me?"

"James tends the flowers, and the flowers are Jane Merrick's very

life.

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