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

Aunt Jane's Nieces

I've come back to look

up the family and find how many are left. Curious sort of a job, isn't

it."

"I don't know. Perhaps it's natural," replied the boy, reflectively.

"But I'm sorry you came to Aunt Jane first."

"Why?"

"She's in bad health--quite ill, you know--and her temper's dreadful.

Perhaps she--she--"

"I know. But I haven't seen her in years; and, after all, she's my

sister. And back at the old home, where I went first, no one knew

anything about what had become of the family except Jane. They kept

track of her because she suddenly became rich, and a great lady, and

that was a surprising thing to happen to a Merrick. We've always been

a poor lot, you know."

The boy glanced at the bundle, pityingly, and the little man caught

the look and smiled his sweet, cheery smile.

"My valise was too heavy to carry," he said; "so I wrapped up a few

things in case Jane wanted me to stay over night. And that's why I

didn't get a horse at the livery, you know. Somebody'd have to take it

back again."

"I'm sure she'll ask you to stay, sir. And if she doesn't, you come

out to the stable and let me know, and I'll drive you to town again.

Donald--that's the coachman--is my friend, and he'll let me have the

horse if I ask him."

"Thank you, lad," returned the man, gratefully. "I thought a little

exercise would do me good, but this three miles has seemed like thirty

to me!"

"We're here at last," said the boy, turning: into the drive-way.

"Seeing that you're her brother, sir, I advise you to go right up to

the front door and ring the bell."

"I will," said the man.

"I always go around the back way, myself."

"I see."

The boy turned away, but in a moment halted again. His interest in

Miss Jane's brother John was extraordinary.

"Another thing," he said, hesitating.

"Well?"

"You'd better not say you met me, you know. It wouldn't be a good

introduction. She hates me as much as I hate her."

"Very good, my lad. I'll keep mum."

The boy nodded, and turned away to lead Nora to the stable.

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