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

Aunt Jane's Nieces

Comedy was her forte, rather than tragedy. If

tragedy entered her life she would probably turn it into ridicule.

Wholly without care, whimsical and generous to a degree, if it suited

her mood, Louise Merrick possessed a nature capable of great things,

either for good or ill.

It was no wonder her unsophisticated country cousin failed to

comprehend her, although Beth's intuition was not greatly at fault.

Six o'clock found Beth wide awake, as usual; so she quietly dressed

and, taking her book under her arm, started to make her way into the

gardens. Despite Louise's cynicism she had no intention of abandoning

her studies. She had decided to fit herself for a teacher before Aunt

Jane's invitation had come to her, and this ambition would render it

necessary for her to study hard during vacations.

If she became an heiress she would not need to teach, but she was not

at all confident of her prospects, and the girl's practical nature

prompted her to carry out her plans until she was sure of the future.

In the hall she met Phibbs, shuffling along as if in pain.

"Good morning, miss," said the old servant.

Beth looked at her thoughtfully. This was Aunt Jane's special and

confidential attendant.

"Do your feet hurt you?" she asked.

"Yes, miss; in the mornin' they's awful bad. It's being on 'em all the

day, 'tendin' to Miss Jane, you know. But after a time I gets more

used to the pain, and don't feel it. The mornin's always the worst."

She was passing on, but Beth stopped her.

"Come into my room," she said, and led the way.

Martha Phibbs followed reluctantly. Miss Jane might already be awake

and demanding her services, and she could not imagine what the young

lady wanted her for.

But she entered the room, and Beth went to a box and brought out a

bottle of lotion.

"Mother has the same trouble that you complain of," she said,

practically, "and here is a remedy that always gives her relief. I

brought it with me in case I should take long tramps, and get sore

feet."

She gently pushed the old woman into a chair, and then, to Phibbs'

utter amazement, knelt down and unfastened her shoes and drew off her

stockings.

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