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

Aunt Jane's Nieces

"

"Is there much more?" asked Beth.

"I haven't any list of Aunt Jane's possessions, so I don't know. But

you shall have Elmhurst, if I get it, because the place would be of no

use to me."

"It's a magnificent estate," said Beth, looking at her cousin

doubtfully.

"It shall be yours, dear, whatever Aunt Jane decides. See, this is a

compact, and I'll seal it with a kiss."

She sprang up and, kneeling beside Beth, kissed her fervently.

"Now shall we be friends?" she asked, lightly. "Now will you abandon

all those naughty suspicions and let me love you?"

Beth hesitated. The suggestion seemed preposterous. Such generosity

savored of play acting, and Louise's manner was too airy to be

genuine. Somehow she felt that she was being laughed at by this

slender, graceful girl, who was scarcely older than herself; but she

was too unsophisticated to know how to resent it. Louise insisted upon

warding off her enmity, or at least establishing a truce, and Beth,

however suspicious and ungracious, could find no way of rejecting the

overtures.

"Were I in your place," she said, "I would never promise to give up a

penny of the inheritance. If I win it, I shall keep it all."

"To be sure. I should want you to, my dear."

"Then, since we have no cause to quarrel, we may as well become

friends," continued Beth, her features relaxing a little their set

expression.

Louise laughed again, ignoring the other's brusqueness, and was soon

chatting away pleasantly upon other subjects and striving to draw Beth

out of her natural reserve.

The younger girl had no power to resist such fascinations. Louise

knew the big world, and talked of it with charming naivete, and

Beth listened rapturously. Such a girl friend it had never been her

privilege to have before, and when her suspicions were forgotten she

became fairly responsive, and brightened wonderfully.

They dressed in time for dinner, and met Aunt Jane and Silas Watson,

the lawyer, in the great drawing-room. The old gentleman was very

attentive and courteous during the stately dinner, and did much to

relieve the girls' embarrassment.

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