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

Aunt Jane's Nieces

"

"Girls?" with an accent of horror.

"Young females, anyhow," said Donald, polishing a buckle briskly.

The boy glared at him fixedly.

"Will they be running about the place, Don?"

"Most likely, 'Twould be a shame to shut them up with the poor missus

this glad weather. But why not? They'll be company for ye, Kenneth

lad."

"How long will they stay?"

"Mabbe for aye. Oscar forbys one or the ither o' 'em will own the

place when Miss Jane gi'es up the ghost."

The boy sat silent a moment, thinking upon this speech. Then, with a

cry that was almost a scream, he dashed the box upon the floor and

flew out the door as if crazed, and Donald paused to listen to his

footsteps clattering down the stairs.

Then the old man groaned dismally, shaking his side-whiskers with a

negative expression that might have conveyed worlds of meaning to one

able to interpret it. But his eye fell upon the pine box, which had

rolled to his feet, and he stooped to pick it up. Upon the smoothly

planed side was his own picture, most deftly drawn, showing him

engaged in polishing the harness. Every strap and buckle was depicted

with rare fidelity; there was no doubt at all of the sponge and bottle

on the stool beside him, or the cloth in his hand. Even his bow

spectacles rested upon the bridge of his nose at exactly the right

angle, and his under lip protruded just as it had done since he was a

lad.

Donald was not only deeply impressed by such an exhibition of art; he

was highly gratified at being pictured, and full of wonder that the

boy could do such a thing; "wi' a wee pencil an' a bit o' board!" He

turned the box this way and that to admire the sketch, and finally

arose and brought a hatchet, with which he carefully pried the board

away from the box. Then he carried his treasure to a cupboard, where

he hid it safely behind a row of tall bottles.

Meantime Kenneth had reached the stable, thrown a bridle over the head

of a fine sorrel mare, and scorning to use a saddle leaped upon her

back and dashed down the lane and out at the rear gate upon the old

turnpike road.

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