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

Aunt Jane's Nieces

"

"Well?" queried Louise, evidently amused.

"It's plain to me that Aunt Jane has invited us here to choose which

one of us shall inherit her money--and Elmhurst. She's old and feeble,

and she hasn't any other relations."

"Oh, yes, she has" corrected Louise.

"You mean Patricia Doyle?"

"Yes."

"What do you know of her?"

"Nothing at all."

"Where does she live?"

"I haven't the faintest idea."

Louise spoke as calmly as if she had not mailed Patricia's defiant

letter to Aunt Jane, or discovered her cousin's identity in the little

hair-dresser from Madame Borne's establishment.

"Has Aunt Jane mentioned her?" continued Beth.

"Not in my presence."

"Then we may conclude she's left out of the arrangement," said Beth,

calmly. "And, as I said, Aunt Jane is likely to choose one of us to

succeed her at Elmhurst. I hoped I had it all my own way, but it's

evident I was mistaken. You'll fight for your chance and fight mighty

hard!"

Louise laughed merrily.

"How funny!" she exclaimed, after a moment during which Beth frowned

at her darkly. "Why, my dear cousin, I don't want Aunt Jane's money."

"You don't?"

"Not a penny of it; nor Elmhurst; nor anything you can possibly lay

claim to, my dear. My mother and I are amply provided for, and I am

only here to find rest from my social duties and to get acquainted

with my dead father's sister. That is all."

"Oh!" said Beth, lying back in her chair with a sigh of relief.

"So it was really a splendid idea of yours to be frank with me at our

first meeting," continued Louise, cheerfully; "for it has led to your

learning the truth, and I am sure you will never again grieve me by

suggesting that I wish to supplant you in Aunt Jane's favor. Now tell

me something about yourself and your people. Are you poor?"

"Poor as poverty," said Beth, gloomily. "My father teaches music, and

mother scolds him continually for not being able to earn enough money

to keep out of debt."

"Hasn't Aunt Jane helped you?"

"We've never seen a cent of her money, although father has tried at

times to borrow enough to help him out of his difficulties.

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