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

Aunt Jane's Nieces


"That's strange. She seems like such a dear kindly old lady," said

Louise, musingly.

"I think she's horrid," answered Beth, angrily; "but I mustn't let her

know it. I even kissed her, when she asked me to, and it sent a shiver

all down my back."

Louise laughed with genuine amusement.

"You must dissemble, Cousin Elizabeth," she advised, "and teach our

aunt to love you. For my part, I am fond of everyone, and it delights

me to fuss around invalids and assist them. I ought to have been a

trained nurse, you know; but of course there's no necessity of my

earning a living."

"I suppose not," said Beth. Then, after a thoughtful silence, she

resumed abruptly; "What's to prevent Aunt Jane leaving you her

property, even if you are rich, and don't need it? You say you like to

care for invalids, and I don't. Suppose Aunt Jane prefers you to me,

and wills you all her money?"

"Why, that would be beyond my power to prevent," answered Louise, with

a little yawn.

Beth's face grew hard again.

"You're deceiving me," she declared, angrily. "You're trying to make

me think you don't want Elmhurst, when you're as anxious to get it as

I am."

"My dear Elizabeth--by the way, that's an awfully long name; what do

they call you, Lizzie, or Bessie, or--"

"They call me Beth," sullenly.

"Then, my dear Beth, let me beg you not to borrow trouble, or to doubt

one who wishes to be your friend. Elmhurst would be a perfect bore

to me. I wouldn't know what to do with it. I couldn't live in this

out-of-the-way corner of the world, you know."

"But suppose she leaves it to you?" persisted Beth. "You wouldn't

refuse it, I imagine."

Louise seemed to meditate.

"Cousin," she said, at length, "I'll make a bargain with you. I can't

refuse to love and pet Aunt Jane, just because she has money and my

sweet cousin Beth is anxious to inherit it. But I'll not interfere in

any way with your chances, and I'll promise to sing your praises to

our aunt persistently. Furthermore, in case she selects me as her

heir, I will agree to transfer half of the estate to you--the half

that consists of Elmhurst.

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